.@CarolineYLChen wrote this searing piece about how frustrated health-care workers are. They "don’t need patronizing praise. They need resources, federal support, and for us to stay healthy and out of their hospitals."
Here’s what the current surge is doing to the best-prepared hospital:
➡️One building is now a COVID tower.
➡️10 COVID units; 1 solely for patients to die.
➡️Some days, they’re short 45-60 nurses.
➡️“We’re watching a system breaking in front of us." 2/
Here are Iowa's cases. The 12-day lag between cases & hospitalizations means people in the blue portion will be trying to enter those full ICUs over the next 2 weeks.
I say Iowa, but you could do this same analysis for any number of states, especially in the Midwest. The near-term future is already baked in, which is why you have to act *ahead* of the virus. (See Problem #8 in this story about 9 intuitive fallacies.)
To continue a trend, I’ll be donating the prize money from this one to the Capital Area Food Bank, the Native American Journalists Association, the South Asian Journalists Association, the Trans Lifeline, and the Trevor Project. 2/
🚨I wrote about the rampant use of "strength" and "fighting" metaphors following Trump's COVID-19 diagnosis, the history of such language when talking about disease, and why it misleads, distracts, and makes things worse. 1/
I spoke to doctors, immunologists, linguists, anthropologists, and psychologists about what we're really talking about when we talk about "strength" in the context of "beating" disease, and whether there's any truth to that (very common) idea. 2/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
On Trump specifically, what he & his supporters are calling "strength" is really 2 things:
- the performance of a specific toxic version of masculinity that prizes aggression, volume, stubbornness, overconfidence, & mockery
- *enormous* privilege 3/
🥳A nice thing happened! Huge thanks to the NPCJI for this incredible honour. Ironically, I'm a little lost for words. The previous awardees are incredible; I never expected to be counted among reporters of their caliber, and it means so very much.
🚨I wrote a new piece about the 9 errors of intuition that people keep making during the pandemic, trapping us in a spiral of bad decisions & policies. This is a guide to thinking about the crisis & breaking free from that endless loop. 1/
Beating COVID-19 isn't just about more tests/masks. Many of the problems that have tripped us up are conceptual. Magical thinking. False dichotomies. Conflating imperfect with useless. Blaming individuals over fixing systems. I've listed 9. 2/
These errors of intuition cropped up in debates over masks, social-distancing, ventilation, colleges. They’ll appear again when we have a vaccine. Winter is coming. We must reset, and "adjust our thinking to match the problem before us.” 3/
In this immunology explainer, I noted that some anecdotal accounts of COVID-19 reinfections exist, but to confirm them, you'd need to sequence the genes of the virus from both infections and show they were subtly different.
A HK team has apparently done that. If true, this would be the first *confirmed* case of reinfection. (Note: there's a press release, and someone has posted screengrabs of parts of the paper, but the whole thing isn't online 😡)
A few COVID-19 long-haulers told me they too disbelieved folks with ME/CFS and similar illnesses until they experienced something similar firsthand—and now deeply regret their previous skepticism. (Some folks w/ ME/CFS have said the same.) 1/
After my 1st long-hauler piece, I got an email asking if I have ME/CFS or similar—fwiw I don’t—on the assumption that ppl who don’t have these illnesses rarely write about them. That felt like a searing indictment. I think about it a lot. 3/
🚨Here’s my new story about long-haulers who’ve had COVID-19 for months. I first wrote about them in early June, and much has changed since then. Notably, many are still sick. For some, it’s been 5+ months of debilitating symptoms. #LongCovid 1/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
Some changes are positive. There’s more awareness of long-haulers & more acceptance from docs. These changes were mostly driven *by long-haulers* who fought for recognition, led their own research, & supported each other, all while being very sick. 2/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
But early pandemic mistakes are STILL costing long-haulers dearly. Testing screw-ups in Feb/Mar meant many never got tested; in Aug, that means many are still being gaslit, & can’t get into post-covid clinics. (What about antibody tests? Read the piece) 3/ theatlantic.com/health/archive…
It’s Shark Week, so here’s a light piece from the Before Times w/ a very silly headline, an also silly Trump lede, an extensive ode to sharks, a look at the problems of Shark Week itself, & a paragraph transition that really shouldn’t work but kinda does.
I’m really grateful to everyone who read the big new cover story this week. If you’ve liked my work, perhaps you’ll also like the work that I like. Here are some great pandemic-related pieces from the last month, from writers whose work I respect.
Here’s a critical vaccine reality check from @sarahzhang, who is surely one of the most formidable science writers working today. Every piece is beautifully explained and meticulously researched. This one is really important. theatlantic.com/health/archive…
A stunning investigative work by @katherineeban into Jared Kushner’s shadow taskforce and its secret, shelved testing plan. It’s perhaps the closest we have to an actual disproval of Hanlon’s razor. vanityfair.com/news/2020/07/h…
But I think that while everyone saw the cracks in their particular area, few people saw all the pieces--or weighted them correctly. Which is why we had pre-pandemic indices that assessed the US as the most prepared of all nations. 3/
The origin of this story is one of my colleagues asked for an immunity explainer, and I said, "GOD NO, have you any idea how complicated immunology is, that would kill me," but then I realized that I am already dead inside, and wrote the piece.
Correction: This piece states that "Immunology confuses even biology professors who aren’t immunologists," but it also confuses biology professors who are immunologists. The Atlantic regrets the error.
🚨I wrote a guide to the immune system—how it theoretically works, how it reacts to the new coronavirus, why it’s all so maddeningly complicated, and what we know about how long immunity lasts. theatlantic.com/health/archive…
Also, hey! It’s a long pandemic piece from me that isn’t an unblinking stare into a soul-crushing abyss! It’s... light? Kind of? It has jokes!
So many of the biggest COVID-19 questions--why some get much sicker than others; whether once-infected people are protected from reinfections and for how long; what might happen over the next several years--are hugely influenced by the immune system...