🚨I wrote about what Delta is doing to Missouri. Some hospitals have accrued as many COVID-19 patients in 5 weeks as they got in 5 months last year. Almost all those patients are unvaccinated. HCWs can't believe they're being overwhelmed *again*. 1/

It was just crushing to hear Missouri's HCWs say the same things that I was hearing last fall/winter. Many of them told me that this surge is worse for them than the last one. They thought they were done. They're exhausted. 2/

This time round, Missouri's ICUs are filling with younger patients--once healthy people in their 30s & 40s. That's partly cos elderly folks are more likely to be vax'd. But everyone told me the 30-yr-olds they're seeing now are sicker than those last yr.

This surge is esp. hard for HCWs because vaccines are now available & because so much of the US has moved on.

“We’re clearly not post-pandemic. New York threw a ticker-tape parade for its health-care heroes, and ours are knee-deep in COVID.” 4/

In 75 of Missouri's 114 counties, full vaccination rates are <30%. No county has a rate >50%.

At the surge's epicenter, there are signs that community outreach efforts are working.

The problem is, trust builds slowly. Delta works fast. 5/

I don't know what else to say at this point. This is not the kind of story I wanted to still be writing in 2021. But here we are.

The US as a whole might not revisit the horrors of last winter, but some communities are in for a worse year. 6/


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More from @edyong209

8 Jul
When birds first appeared, they couldn't taste sugar. Some ancient Australian birds evolved that ability by repurposing a sensor for umami into one for sweetness. And they gave rise to the entire songbird dynasty--half the world's species.

New from me: theatlantic.com/science/archiv…
I didn’t know, before reporting on this story, that songbirds—the huge group that includes robins, jays, starlings, cardinals & finches—originated in Australia. Or that very specific conditions there were a massive boon for bird evolution.
Much of this piece is based on a new paper (linked to in the text) that packs an *incredible* amount of work into a few pages. There are probably years-long experiments packed into single sentences.

Read 5 tweets
14 Jun
Good morning! Let me recommend some books.

First, @alicebell's OUR BIGGEST EXPERIMENT--an epic narrative about climate change, and how we came to understand it. It's astonishing in its scope and ambition. Out Sept 21.

In WILD SOULS, @Emma_Marris thinks through our relationship with wild animals and the very concept of wild-ness. Beautifully written and with piercing moral clarity. A guidepost for the future. Out Jun 21.

In a similar vein, BELOVED BEASTS by @nijhuism tells the story of the modern conservation movement, warts and all, and the people who dedicated their lives to saving those of other species. Insightful, compassionate, and always honest. Out now.

Read 10 tweets
11 Jun
Years ago, my wife & best friend told me this would happen and I told them, stridently and at length, that it was completely and laughably beyond the realms of possibility. So: @lizneeley and @beck_smith are always right, and also I will *never* live this down.
Reporting on the pandemic was the most fulfilling &difficult challenge of my professional life. I did my best to give our readers a stable platform from which to make sense of a crisis that defied sense. I’m sad these stories were ever necessary but I hope they made a difference.
Read 8 tweets
9 Jun
🚨I wrote about how individualism is still sabotaging the pandemic response, and how it has been accentuated by vaccinations & the CDC’s recent guidance. Our collective problem still exists & has been even more heavily shifted onto the most vulnerable. 1/
The CDC director told the nation: "Your health is in your hands." An odd statement from a leader in public health—a field that, more than any other, should know that one’s health is never fully in one’s hands, *especially not in a pandemic*. 2/

This piece has 3 parts.

Part 1 looks at why vaccines reduce but don’t solve the pandemic’s collective problem. Inequities in access, the variants, & individualistic attitudes all shunt that problem onto the unvaccinated 48%. 3/

Read 6 tweets
7 Jun
Today, the workers of The Atlantic are unionizing.

The Atlantic has treated and compensated me extremely well, and I’m joining @theatlunion in solidarity, to ensure that ALL of my amazing colleagues can say the same. We are stronger together.

Read 4 tweets
20 May
Back to writing about the pandemic. I wrote about how the US might react to the traumas of the last 14 months in the quiet moments after adrenaline fades.
It's about what happens when you can finally exhale, but the breaths come out as sighs. 1/

I spoke to people who study trauma & work with communities post-disasters. They told me these moments can be unexpectedly tough. If you’ve been swimming furiously for a year, you don’t expect to finally reach dry land and feel like you’re drowning. 2/

The timeframe for recovering from disasters is long, and often exceed the lifespan of human compassion and attention. I think it's worth thinking now about people who'll be left behind as the nation heads towards a brighter summer. 3/
Read 6 tweets

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