I wrote about planarian flatworms that reproduce by tearing themselves in two.

Each piece behaves like a full animal; the front of the tail fragment will start acting like a head.

Each piece will regenerate a complete body, regrowing a brain if needed

This piece begins with an animal ripping itself in two. And then it gets weird. theatlantic.com/science/archiv…
It’s an enormous if temporary relief to be writing a weird-nature story again theatlantic.com/science/archiv…
Who is the bad flatworm friend? is what I’m asking

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More from @edyong209

2 Oct
This is the introductory essay that I wrote for the Best American Science & Nature Writing Anthology, which I edited this year. (Out Oct 12)

It’s about what it means to be a science writer, and how the pandemic changed the way I think about the field.

Here’s the anthology, which you can preorder. I’m so proud of this selection and the 26 amazing writers whose pieces are featured. bookshop.org/books/the-best…
Also I wrote this essay in February, while still on book leave. It’s interesting how much it thematically overlaps with the piece I wrote this week, down to the Virchow ref and the germ theory bit. I promise this isn’t suddenly a Virchow stan account.

Read 4 tweets
29 Sep
🚨Here's my new piece about our great challenge—control this pandemic while ALSO averting the next. For centuries, the US has been stuck in a Sisyphean cycle of panic & neglect. It can break that loop, but the window of opportunity is already closing. 1/
The opening chapter of the next pandemic is being written right now. I know, I know. Next one?! Can’t we get through this one first? No, sadly, we can't. History tells us we don't have time. Learn from the past immediately, or repeat it imminently. 2/
In some ways, Delta was an audition for the next pandemic--and one that we flubbed. Many of the actions we took this spring were headlong dives into the neglect phase of the cycle. This is a warning about how swiftly complacency can set in. 3/
Read 10 tweets
1 Sep
🚨I wrote a new piece about long-COVID, its future, and what long-haulers want.

The biomedical community is paying more attention but research is slow & often disregards the vast expertise that long-haulers have amassed about their own condition. 1/

When I first reported on long COVID last June, few scientists or medics knew about it. When I described it to one disease expert, he said, “That’s unusual.” But it wasn’t—even then.

Things are better now. More recognition, coverage, studies. But… 2/

Many long-haulers (and allied researchers) are frustrated about ongoing dismissal, flawed & inefficient research that ignores their needs & expertise, & watching people rediscover things they already knew. Academia is slow; their needs are urgent. 3/

Read 11 tweets
12 Aug
🚨I wrote a big piece about how Delta affects the pandemic endgame.

Many folks are upset & confused by the last month. Here's an attempt to reset expectations, lay out our goals, map the near-term future, & show how the pandemic ends--which it will. 1/

The bottom line: Vaccines remain the best way for *individuals* to protect themselves, but *societies* can't treat them as the only defense. Delta is so transmissible that vacc'n can blunt it, but we still need masks & the rest. 2/

The endgame is endemicity—the virus will still be here but won’t cause as much damage due to widespread immunity. Most people will meet it. The goals are: ensure as many as poss do so after 2 vax doses; and spread the other infections out. 3/
Read 7 tweets
22 Jul
🚨Unvaccinated people aren't a monolith. It's a huge mistake to treat them all as anti-vaxxers who are being selfish or antagonistic.

I spoke to @RheaBoydMD about why some folks are still unvaccinated, what to do about it, & why she's still hopeful. 1/

.@RheaBoydMD's views on vaccines, and why some people still haven't got theirs, are smart and nuanced. Perhaps more importantly, they're also wise and compassionate. She has certainly helped me rethink the problem. I hope you'll read this interview 2/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
So much of the vaccine discourse, and the blame placed on "the unvaccinated", ignores the big lingering issue of access--not only to vaccines, but to good info around them--and, by extension, longstanding inequalities of race and class in the US. 3/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
Read 6 tweets
16 Jul
🚨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.

Read 6 tweets

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