Ed Yong Profile picture
23 Dec, 17 tweets, 5 min read
I'm going to log off and try and take a break.

This piece lays out the stakes for the next few weeks.

And here's one last thread reflecting on my experience of covering the pandemic's second year. 1/

I think the pandemic traps us (people broadly, and journalists specifically) in the present moment, always reacting (too late) to the current surge or lull. But to really understand how we got here and how to get out, we need to grapple with the past, both recent and distant. 2/
So I wrote about the ways in which trauma lingers, even when some semblance of safety is reached... 3/
... and about how America's longstanding bent towards individualism continues to hamper its pandemic response despite a change in administration ... 4/

... and how public health has partly lost its way over the last century and could reclaim its more radical roots. 5/

I wrote about what the Delta surge did to healthcare workers while it was taking off... 6/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
... but also, and far more importantly, what all the cumulative surges *have done* to healthcare workers, even when hospitalizations were (briefly) declining. 7/

I wrote about long-haulers who've been enduring persistent debilitating symptoms throughout the various surges and lulls, and why they're frustrated with the medical establishment ... 8/
... and, for those long-haulers who are themselves healthcare workers, frustrated with their own colleagues. 9/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
I tried to continue arranging the pandemic's disparate puzzle pieces into a cohesive synthesis of what the future holds, especially during moments of upheaval--like the ascent of Delta... 10/

... and the arrival of Omicron. 11/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
I tried to tie the above articles together in this one. It shows how the last century's events led us to think about pandemic preparedness in an inadequate way, and how today's decisions are paving the way for future variants and pathogens. 12/

And finally, I wrote about how I'm trying to apply my reporting to my own life, in a piece that really isn't about one person's dumb party but is very much a call for putting we over me, and a reminder of the agency we still have. 13/
While working on these articles, I've tried to avoid being a generic pandemic pundit; on Twitter and in interviews, I've only weighed in on things that I've specifically reported on. 14/
I've tried to reflect the actual reality of the pandemic, rather than what I want it to be. I've tried to reflect *our collective risk*, long after I got vaccinated and *my personal risk* fell dramatically. 15/
Last year was already draining. This year was worse. Partly, it's because exactly zero people who were full of shit in 2020 suddenly made sense in 2021, but a lot of people who made sense last year just lost the plot this year. 16/
And yet, I hope these pieces have helped at least some of you to make sense of this crisis that seems to make less sense by the day. I'm still learning, and still trying. And I guess I'll still be doing that next year.😬See you then, and stay safe. /End.

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More from @edyong209

17 Dec
I turn 40 today. I was planning to have a party but I canceled it last week because of Omicron.

I wrote about why I made that call, and how I thought about the risks—to myself, to my friends, and to our society. 1/

This piece isn't a lecture or advice column. It's just me walking through my thoughts as I try to apply the lessons learned from my reporting to my own life.

I know many people are struggling with decisions about gatherings so maybe this might help. 2/

(Just had to jinx it, didn't you, kiddo?)

Read 6 tweets
16 Dec
🚨Well, I wrote about Omicron--what we know & what it means.

I feel the core problem is unchanged: The variant poses a much greater threat at the societal level than the individual one, making it the kind of problem the US has consistently flubbed. 1/
First, a clarification. It's v. easy to ascribe everything to the new variant but even if Omicron hadn’t emerged, we’d still looking at a bad winter.

Hospitalizations are rising. 1000+ deaths /day. That’s Delta. What’ll Omicron do *on top of that*? 2/
This piece analyzes that question at 2 scales—individual and societal. Individually, things are... not great but also not catastrophic. Societally, I am sad to say it’s bleaker.

I won’t tweet the whole piece, but here are some key points. 3/
Read 11 tweets
24 Nov
🚨I wrote about healthcare workers with long-COVID, & how their experience changed their view of medicine.

HCWs & long-haulers are often framed in opposition, but here's the story of people who sit across both worlds. 1/

Most medically trained long-haulers I interviewed were shocked at how quick their own peers were to disregard their medical expertise and tell them their symptoms were in their heads. Their status as patients completely subsumed their qualifications. 2/
Healthcare workers w/ long COVID have told me that their own doctor made the finger-circling-a-temple gesture at them, or told them “hormones do funny things to women.” For some, the experience has shattered their trust in their own profession. 3/
Read 10 tweets
23 Nov
We published this a week ago. Every day since, my inbox has filled with emails from HCWs who say it reflects their reality & mental state. Their messages are heartbreaking--stories of pain, anger, and moral distress, sometimes at essay-length, from people who've had enough.
There are people who want to leave but are trapped by debt, people who saw medicine as a calling but can't cope any more, people who feel so hollow that they're strangers to their loved ones, people who are staring at what looks a lot like another winter surge with utter horror.
In a way, it's gratifying to hear messages from people who say they finally feel seen, or who are thankful for something they can use to explain what's happening to their families. It's good to feel that these pieces make a difference to at least some people.
Read 7 tweets
16 Nov
🚨During surges, much is written about healthcare workers burning out. But they often get by on adrenaline only to find, once ICUs are empty, that so are they.

In the US, 1/5 have left. More plan too. I wrote about the hemorrhage happening right now. 1/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
I spoke to so many healthcare workers who’ve been broken by the pandemic—by the traumas they saw, the institutions that failed them, the moral distress of being unable to do their job. Many thought they were in medicine for life. They’ve quit, too. 2/

COVID is hard to treat. It quickly inundates hospitals.
Healthcare workers aren't quitting because they can’t handle their jobs. They’re quitting because they can’t handle *being unable to do their jobs*. 3/

Read 10 tweets
10 Nov
End of an era. Flash Forward was a singular thing.

And no single journalist more heavily influenced my approach to pandemic coverage than Rose.

For years, I've marvelled at how she seamlessly wove science with history, culture, and sociology... 1/3

... how she eschewed easy technocratic solutions to complex problems; how she centered disabled, queer, POC, and other marginalized voices; and perhaps most importantly, how she maintained a core of hope even when talking about the bleakest futures. 2/3
She did all that, and for most of Flash Forward's life, she did it *single-handedly*, without the production crews that many popular podcasts have.

She's an inspiration, and a dear, dear friend. I can't wait to see what she does next. 3/3
Read 6 tweets

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