I came across this going through some old links. I remember when this news came out, our worry was "uh oh, we live just 5 blocks from Bellevue! Hope we don't have to quarantine!"

Oh February 2020 Gaurav, I have so much to tell you!
The reason I was looking up news about covid in Feb 2020 was that I was scheduled to take a class of 32 undergrads to Munich and Prague in March for a week as part of a full 3 credit course. But Italy had started a lockdown. With the worst outbreaks in the north near Munich.
As professor, I was the main point of contact. Students and parents (paying $$$ for the trip) started asking me about precautions we were taking, insurance coverage, etc if the virus spread to Bavaria when we were there. I took the questions to my school leadership.
Looking back at Feb 2020, I'm so proud of the wisdom and prescience of my school and university leadership. They looked at the questions asked. They looked at the information available. In Feb, from a US perspective, things didn't look too bad. Trump was publicly underplaying it.
Even as in Feb, he told Woodward it was a horrible virus, he was publicly underplaying it. So students and parents expected this to be a serious but limited like sars or ebola. But my associate dean, dean, provost etc were thinking more broadly and cautiously about it all.
In the final week of February, even though the CDC still didn't consider Europe a risk, the leadership decided to cancel the trip, even if it meant swallowing the costs. Because lacking CDC level 4 status or flight cancellations, in Feb, refund didn't look likely.
The reasons were very simple and common sense. Everyone, even in Feb, was like, "yeah, this looks way more risky than anything ever before". And I've taken students on trips through South American countries having mass protests. Even in Feb, it looked a bit much to them.
Students and parents were not all happy with the decision. Many thought it was overkill to just cancel the whole trip that early (late Feb). On March 6, in class, I fielded questions from disappointed students wondering if they could use the flight tickets individually.
They kept asking questions that I couldn't answer cos they were above my pay grade.
"Can we do the trip in summer or fall?"
"Will it still be Munich-Prague next year or elsewhere?"
"Will we get compensated for the cancellation since CDC still says travel is OK?"
I gave them real talk. I don't know. Honestly, no one knows. This seems like something unprecedented. Dean, provost etc are trying their best and mean well. But no one has answers to what you're asking, I explained.

They didn't seem convinced but glumly nodded.
That was March 6th. In exactly a week, right before the day we were supposed to fly, Trump finally suspended travel from Europe. NY started a lockdown in a couple of more days. My school leadership had read the tea leaves perfectly. It saved us and students a lot of hassle.
Leadership matters. That's the biggest learning from covid.

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More from @gauravsabnis

5 May
If he at least had the best digital solutions, it could be understood. Like in NYC, a QR code based system for the vaccine worked really well, without being forced down people's throats. For record keeping, not gate keeping.

This uncle is still in early 00s mindset and ability.
Also this lie being spread by NN fanboys that "even in US, you need to give ssn and photo id for vaccines."
Absolute blatant lies!
Here's how tech works in normal countries. In NYC, if you have a phone or computer, go to the website, fill out the information, under penalty of perjury (as in, if you lie to jump the line, you may be prosecuted later, AFTER the pandemic is done, but if you honest, you cool).
Read 5 tweets
5 May
Yo bangalore quisling MP, how jobless are you that you're going around playing Sherlock Sherlock in the middle of a pandemic? People aren't suffering enough that they have to suffer you? And what is this bed management software trumpeting? Dude, it's 90s tech.
One Thejaswi is Bangalore Quizzing
One Tejasvi is Bangalore Quisling
So much of bangalore life seems to be either talking to or about Nandan Nilekani like he's some combination of Tony Stark and Bran Stark. Dude set up a decent labor arbitrage business, people. And his grasp of what is latest and relevant tech seems shaky and dated.
Read 5 tweets
5 May
Oooh I'm going to plug one of my favorite longforms of all time from historian Jill Lepore! I mentioned this in detail to my graduating students. 😍
newyorker.com/magazine/2021/… ImageImageImageImage
The tldr is it's because we were TOO efficient at hunting and gathering. 😭😭😭😭
I love my job. But it's just my job. It's very meaningful to shape young lives and fun to turn my social media obsessions into academic papers. But it's just my job.
Read 6 tweets
4 May
Nailed it. Remember when people praised the late Sushma Swaraj when she was External Affairs Minister for personally responding on Twitter to some pleas for help from troubled Indian nationals abroad. I was like, what exactly are consulates doing then? There's phone, email!
India has never even tried to build public services and systems for everyone. They are only built minimally, for elites like me. When the minimal systems don't work, we usually know someone who knows someone. How we elites coasted through demonetization. But this...Is unusual!
So much of living through crises in India is about being "atmanirbhar" - self-sufficient! This government, which is usually up in everyone's business, even promotes it as a national virtue. Even as it seeks to deflect the blame to actually self-sufficient foreign countries.
Read 6 tweets
4 May
So after making a few phone calls and sending a few aggrieved emails to people I know close to powers that be about the patent protection thing, here's a gist of the explanation I got. Which is at least a nuanced and thoughtful one, not the least "profiteering" related. ...
Whether you agree or disagree, this is the gist.
This is very much like a choice between a horrible situation and an even more horrible situation. And they're going with the decision, for now, that they think is the less horrible situation. Which is protecting patents.
These mRNA vaccines are a miracle of sorts. Their effectiveness as well as the speed with which they were put out. But that was made possible in large part by a massive behind the scenes effort by the CDC, FDA, Pfizer, Moderna, and the Biden admin's experienced Klain team.
Read 13 tweets
4 May
If India had a government which, officially and through its social media arm, wasn't denying the scale of the horror and tragedy, I would feel queasy sharing this video. It'd feel like tragedy porn. With the government mainstreaming denialism and making "positivity" a virtue...
If you have relatives or friends in india still on the modi bandwagon, send this video on all whatsapp groups. It's very difficult to watch. And so transparent. Maybe this will change their minds? At least it'll disturb them somewhat. That's worth the forward.
All over the world, literally the only differentiating factor between what places got badly hit by covid and what places got REALLY badly hit by covid - governments. Progressive/liberal/left governments have minimized the fallout. Right wing ones have messed it up.
Read 4 tweets

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