See below: What caused the crisis • Who acted well • Who acted poorly • Explainers
What comes next
The Long Shadow of the Pandemic: 2024 and Beyond (by Nicholas Christakis, WSJ, Oct 16, 2020): "Gradually, things will return to 'normal,' albeit in a world with some persistent changes. Around 2024, the post-pandemic period will begin."
So You Think New York Is 'Dead' (It's not) (by Jerry Seinfeld, NYT, Aug 24, 2020): "We're going to keep going with New York City if that's all right with you. And it will sure as hell be back. Because of all the real, tough New Yorkers who, unlike you, loved it and understood it, stayed and rebuilt it."
Covid-19 Is Dividing the American Worker (by Christopher Mims, WSJ, Aug 22, 2020): "The rapid adoption of remote work and automation could accelerate inequalities in place for decades."
The Coronavirus Is Never Going Away (by Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, Aug 4, 2020)
The New New York Will Be Better (by Molly Jong-Fast in The Atlantic, May 20, 2020)
Scenarios for the COVID-19 Future: by Steven Weber and Arik Ben-Zvi exploring four possible futures: "The Invisible Enemy Wins," "Fractured America," "Resilient America," and "We Win."
Air Travel Is Going to Be Very Bad, for a Very Long Time (by James Fallows in the Atlantic, May 11, 2020): "Most of the other businesses are suffering because they have been told to close. The airlines are suffering in part because they have been told to stay open. ... How the airline and aviation world will look a generation from now, no one can say."
Thread from Jeremy Konyndyk (May 1, 2020): "The way forward is very clear: test, trace, isolate, protect. ... We are stuck in an untenable holding pattern as long as federal leadership means vague slide decks and empty assurances rather than test kits, PPE, and accountability."
Home Screens (by Drew Austin in Real Life, April 27, 2020): "The post-pandemic transition will at least serve as an occasion to evaluate what's lacking from our current clickable, searchable reality and find new ways to fill those voids . . . The internet was never meant to be a self-contained space - it is an augmented reality, not a virtual one - and humans can't live entirely within it."
Tech giants are profiting - and getting more powerful - even as the global economy tanks (by Elizabeth Dwoskin in the Washington Post, April 27): "The tech giants' deep pockets will enable them to withstand the coming global economic recession... As many start-ups collapse, tech giants will expand on the power they've accumulated using the playbook of the last decade: snapping up talent, buying or copying rivals, and eroding traditional industries. ... 'There are really two Americas right now,' said Scott Galloway, an [NYU] marketing professor. 'There is Big Tech and there is everyone else.'"
Begin The World Again (by Jonathan Taplin, April 25, 2020): "To break the hold of the Oligarchy on American politics will not be easy. Most of the forces of the government in a crisis are being deployed to support the 1%."
The Pandemic Will Change American Retail Forever (by Derek Thompson in The Atlantic, April 27): "The American cities waiting on the other side of this crisis will not be the same. They will be 'safer' in almost every respect - healthier, blander, and more boring, with fewer tourists, less exciting food, and a desiccated nightlife. ... 'Cities have historically been places for outsiders, but they became ruinously expensive in the last decade when they became popular with mainstream people,' [Jeremiah] Moss said. 'If cities become less expensive in the next few years, it might allow artists and weirdos and the counterculture to come back to New York and places like it. It could make cities interesting again.' As Moss spoke, I thought of a forest fire that rages through the underbrush and leaves a legacy of ash."
My Restaurant Was My Life for 20 Years. Does the World Need It Anymore? (by Gabrielle Hamilton in NYT Magazine, April 23): "For the past 10 years I've been staring wide-eyed and with alarm as the sweet, gentle citizen restaurant transformed into a kind of unruly colossal beast... what was once your 'personality' became your 'brand,' the small acts of kindness and the way you always used to have of sharing your talents and looking out for others became things to 'monetize.' ... And God, the brunch, the brunch. The phone hauled out for every single pancake and every single Bloody Mary to be photographed and Instagrammed."
Would You Sacrifice Your Privacy to Get Out of Quarantine? (by Mike Giglio in The Atlantic, April 22): "Douglas London, who worked at the CIA for three decades before retiring last year... [said] he can envision a scenario in which the government proposes 'a PATRIOT Act for pandemic monitoring and control' ... 'The invasion of personal privacy would offer the government strong technical surveillance tools to help in containing and rolling back a pandemic,' said London, who now teaches at Georgetown University. 'But I think Americans should resist such measures. Once you give away those rights and privacies, you're never going to get them back. And once the government has these powers, they can be used for other things, and they can be abused.'"
Covid-19 may be our final, last-gasp revolt (by Douglas Rushkoff, April 20): "Getting sick is the last thing we do before either withdrawing from the stressors or collapsing altogether. I've begun seeing the Covid-19 virus this way. It's not a pretty thought, but what if this virus is our last-gasp resistance to the ravages of techno-capitalism?"
The Long, Hard Road Ahead to Revive New York City's Economy (by J. David Goodman in NYT, April 20, 2020): "How New York City, the epicenter of the country's outbreak, begins to recapture its vibrancy is a question consuming political, business and cultural leaders."
The Coronavirus in America: The Year Ahead (NYT, April 18, 2020): "There will be no quick return to our previous lives, according to nearly two dozen experts. But there is hope for managing the scourge now and in the long term."
Privacy Cannot Be a Casualty of the Coronavirus (NYT Editorial Board, April 7, 2020): "Many Americans now rely on digital tools to work remotely and stay connected. They shouldn't have to sacrifice their privacy to use them."
Behind the global efforts to make a privacy-first coronavirus tracking app (by David Ingram and Jacob Ward in NBC News, April 7, 2020): There's "growing scrutiny from privacy advocates and some health care experts who question the efficacy of such systems. . . . But tech experts remain optimistic about a voluntary app that would silently and anonymously use Bluetooth technology to ping phones nearby - without sharing personal data with the government or other third parties."
Tracking everyone's whereabouts won't stop COVID-19 (by Albert Fox Cahn and Alyssa Domino in Fast Company, April 6, 2020): "In China, individuals receive a color-coded health rating: green, yellow, or red. While the details of how the system operates are opaque, individuals who are deemed at higher risk are denied access to education, work, or even transit. Get a yellow or a red rating? Sorry, there's no way to know why, and you certainly can't appeal."
Post Corona: Higher Ed (Scott Galloway, April 3, 2020): "Big tech's impending march into higher ed will bring more learning to more humans, and erode our humanity."
The Revolution After The Crisis (by Daniel Araya in Forbes, March 31, 2020): "We need to grasp the historical cycles of crisis and renewal that William Strauss and Neil Howe describe in their book, 'The Fourth Turning.'"
How the Pandemic Will End (by Ed Yong in the Atlantic, March 25, 2020): "The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it's going to play out."
In the Midst of the Coronavirus Crisis, We Must Start Envisioning the Future Now (by Masha Gessen in the New Yorker, March 25, 2020)
Premonition (Subpixel Space, March 25, 2020): "While some restaurants will re-open, we will not see a significant return of retail to cities."
Big Tech Could Emerge From Coronavirus Crisis Stronger Than Ever (NYT, March 23, 2020)
The People in Charge See an Opportunity (by Anne Applebaum in the Atlantic, March 23, 2020): "On Friday, the Hungarian government sent a bill to Parliament that will give dictatorial powers to the prime minister, Viktor Orban, in the name of the 'emergency.'"
Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here's How. (Politico, March 19, 2020): "34 big thinkers' predictions for what's to come."
Coronavirus Is Speeding Up the Amazonification of the Planet (by Brian Merchant in OneZero, March 19, 2020): "As restaurants, bars, and local shops close down, platform-based monoliths are vacuuming up customers and jobs."
Let's talk about what happens if you get COVID19 and recover. (by Nicholas Christakis on Twitter, March 19, 2020)
When the Checkpoints Come (by Ian Bogost in the Atlantic, March 19, 2020): "How will Americans react when restrictions on their movements are no longer voluntary?" See also Maciej Ceglowski's proposal for a massive surveillance program (March 23).
We're not going back to normal (Technology Review, March 17, 2020)
Grieving for My Sick City (by Michelle Goldberg in NYT, March 16, 2020): "When this emergency is over, people are likely to emerge into fundamentally changed cities, with economies in crisis and beloved restaurants, businesses and cultural institutions gone for good."
Ongoing thread on intersection of privacy/tech/surveillance/coronavirus (Chris Gilliard's @hypervisible account, thread started March 11, 2020).
Coronavirus, facial recognition, and the future of privacy (VentureBeat, March 6, 2020): "COVID-19 could easily be used as an excuse to spread mass surveillance."
What caused the crisis
The Plague Year (by Lawrence Wright in the New Yorker, Jan 4 & 11, 2021 issue): "Unlike Taiwan, Australia, Hong Kong, and New Zealand, which rigidly enforced quarantines, the U.S. did little to enforce its rules, and the leaks soon became apparent."
How the Pandemic Defeated America (by Ed Yong, The Atlantic, Aug 4, 2020): "Despite ample warning, the U.S. squandered every possible opportunity to control the coronavirus. And despite its considerable advantages - immense resources, biomedical might, scientific expertise - it floundered."
We Are Living in a Failed State (by George Packer, The Atlantic, June 2020 issue): "Trump acquired a federal government crippled by years of right-wing ideological assault, politicization by both parties, and steady defunding. ... This was the American landscape that lay open to the virus." See also Ross Douthat's response (NYT, May 12): "the United States in the age of the coronavirus is not, in fact, the 'failed state' depicted in George Packer's much-read Atlantic essay and similar polemics. The Trump White House has been predictably ineffective, but our gridlocked Congress has nonetheless found a way to pass sweeping spending bills... and the Federal Reserve has moved more swiftly than in the last crisis to keep the economy from cratering."
America's Patchwork Pandemic Is Fraying Even Further (by Ed Yong in The Atlantic, May 20, 2020)
Miscalculation at Every Level Left U.S. Unequipped to Fight Coronavirus (WSJ, April 29, 2020): "A shortfall in masks lays bare the blunders by hospitals, manufacturers and the federal government."
He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump's Failure on the Virus (by Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger, Maggie Haberman, Michael D. Shear, Mark Mazzetti and Julian E. Barnes, NYT, April 11, 2020): "The president was warned about the potential for a pandemic but internal divisions, lack of planning, and his faith in his own instincts led to a halting response."
How Delays and Unheeded Warnings Hindered New York's Virus Fight (by J. David Goodman in NYT, April 8, 2020): "The state's efforts focused on the suburb, not the city, and [Mayor] de Blasio urged the public not to worry. [And] from the earliest days of the crisis, state and city officials were also hampered by a chaotic and often dysfunctional federal response, including significant problems with the expansion of coronavirus testing, which made it far harder to gauge the scope of the outbreak."
How the Coronavirus Became an American Catastrophe (by Alexis Madrigal and Robinson Meyer in the Atlantic, March 21, 2020): "The death and economic damage sweeping the United States could have been avoided - if only we had started testing for the virus sooner."
Where Are the Masks? (by Wajahat Ali in the Atlantic, March 20, 2020): "Our health-care professionals are fighting for us, but we're not giving them the equipment they need to succeed. ... Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, meanwhile, have access to N95 masks as they apprehend immigrants during a national pandemic."
China Is Avoiding Blame by Trolling the World (by Shadi Hamid in the Atlantic, March 19, 2020): "Beijing is successfully dodging culpability for its role in spreading the coronavirus."
Timeline: The early days of China's coronavirus outbreak and cover-up (by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian in Axios, March 18, 2020): "If Chinese authorities had acted three weeks earlier than they did, the number of coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 95% and its geographic spread limited." See related study from the University of Southampton.
Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded (by David E. Sanger, Eric Lipton, Eileen Sullivan and Michael Crowley in the NYT, March 19, 2020): "The knowledge and sense of urgency about the peril appear never to have gotten sufficient attention at the highest level of the executive branch or from Congress, leaving the nation with funding shortfalls, equipment shortages and disorganization within and among various branches and levels of government."
Bill Kristol: TV ad on Fox and Friends (March 19, 2020): "America needs a president who tells the truth. Our lives depend on it."
Hannity claims he's "never called the virus a hoax" 9 days after decrying Democrats' "new hoax" (by Aaron Rupar in Vox, March 20, 2020): "Hannity is trying to put his irresponsible coronavirus coverage down the memory hole."
Supercut of Trump saying coronavirus was fake news, until he suddenly said he knew it was a pandemic all along (Rob Beschizza in BoingBoing, March 19, 2020): "Recount assembled Trump's statements about coronavirus -- all downplaying it, some calling it an outright hoax -- and put them in a nice calendar [format]."
Reminder that brave Wuhan doctors knew of human-to-human transmission in December (by Zeynep Tufekci on Twitter, March 18, 2020): "They were censored and punished. Some died. Unconscionably, Chinese authorities suppressed the info and WHO parroted their line into January."
Who acted well
Data Heroes of Covid Tracking Project Are Still Filling U.S. Government Void (Bloomberg Businessweek, November 20, 2020): "The volunteer effort has become a vital source of information on the pandemic."
The Irish are sending relief to Native Americans, inspired by a donation from a tribe during the Great Famine (CNN, May 6, 2020)
Jack Dorsey pledges $1 billion to Covid relief, an amount he claims to be 28% of his net worth (April 7, 2020). Update May 15. See also Vox's counterpoint and Carrie Goldberg's comment on the (coincidental?) simultaneous increase in Twitter's surveillance capitalism. Also this article (Owen Thomas in SF Chronicle, April 8) and companion thread suggesting that Dorsey already has failed to make good on past philanthropic commitments.
Two 20-somethings extend 'invisible hands' in virus outbreak (by Leanne Italie and Jessie Wardarski - AP, March 18, 2020): "[Liam] Elkind, a junior at Yale, and a friend, Simone Policano, amassed 1,300 volunteers in 72 hours to deliver groceries and medicine to older New Yorkers and other vulnerable people." See invisiblehandsdeliver.com.
Bandcamp's Campaign to Support Artists During the Covid-19 Pandemic (March 23, 2020)
In Coronavirus Response, Andrew Cuomo Wins Over Past Critics (WSJ, March 19, 2020)
A New York Doctor's Coronavirus Warning: The Sky Is Falling (NYT Op-ed by Dr. By Cornelia Griggs, March 19, 2020)
i'm starting to keep track of everything that is normally disallowed (paid sick leave, access to water, no arrests) but clearly feasible based on the coronavirus response (Francis Tseng on Twitter, March 13, 2020)
Li Wenliang on weibo (Chenchen Zhang on Twitter, March 10, 2020)
Mike Luckovich cartoon (Twitter, March 19, 2020)
Who acted poorly
The President Is Unraveling (by Peter Wehner in the Atlantic, May 5, 2020): "[S]ome of the essential traits of Donald Trump: the shocking ignorance, ineptitude, and misinformation; his constant need to divide Americans and attack those who are trying to promote social solidarity; his narcissism, deep insecurity, utter lack of empathy, and desperate need to be loved; his feelings of victimization and grievance; his affinity for ruthless leaders; and his fondness for conspiracy theories."
This 'Imagine' Cover Is No Heaven (by Jon Caramanica in NYT, March 20, 2020): "In this clusterclump of hyperfamous people with five seconds' too much time on their hands, however, "Imagine" may have met its match. By the end, it has been pummeled and stabbed, disaggregated, stripped for parts and left for trash collection by the side of the highway. "
US airlines pushing for massive bailout gave $45bn to shareholders in five years (by William Turvill in the Guardian, March 18, 2020). See also Tim Wu's comment (Twitter, March 20) and posts from Andrew Selbst and Mar Hicks (March 19).
Senator Dumped Up to $1.7 Million of Stock After Reassuring Public About Coronavirus Preparedness (by Robert Faturechi and Derek Willis in ProPublica, March 19, 2020): "The lawmaker gave a VIP group at an exclusive social club a much more dire preview of the economic impact of the coronavirus than what he had told the public."
The Metropolitan Opera is laying off its employees. (Roger McNamee on Twitter, March 19, 2020): "The most recent data I can find says the endowment is nearly $300 million."
China: expulsion of US journalists was response to 'unreasonable oppression' (by Lily Kuo, Helen Davidson, and Graham Russell in the Guardian, March 18, 2020): "Beijing defends ban of 13 journalists, which has been criticised as irresponsible during coronavirus crisis."
Why Telling People They Don't Need Masks Backfired (by Zeynep Tufekci in NYT, March 17, 2020): "To help manage the shortage, the authorities sent a message that made them untrustworthy." See also her related Twitter thread.
The Fine Print of Grubhub's $100 Million Relief Program for Ailing Restaurants (Eater, March 17, 2020)
Area Man Spotted Prioritizing Fitness Goals Over Well-being of Community (NYMag's The Cut, March 16, 2020): "The mayor's press secretary said that the YMCA has been a 'huge part' of Mayor de Blasio's life, and he 'wanted to visit a place that keeps him grounded one last time.'"
With masks at the ready, ICE agents make arrests on first day of California coronavirus lockdown (LA Times, March 2020)
Elon Musk keeps downplaying the severity of coronavirus, and hedged his promise to produce ventilators for hospitals mere minutes after making it (Business Insider, March 19, 2020): "Minutes after promising that his factories would make ventilators 'if there's a shortage,' Musk then questioned whether there is a ventilator shortage." See also Tom Scocca's comment.
The Lab-Leak Hypothesis (by Nicholson Baker in New York magazine, Jan 4, 2021): "There is a reasonable chance that what we are dealing with is the result of a lab accident."
What The Coronavirus Vaccine Does To Your Body (by AsapSCIENCE on YouTube, Dec 8, 2020)
When Will We Throw Our Masks Away? I Asked Dr. Fauci (by Elisabeth Rosenthal in NYT, Nov 19, 2020): "I think what people need to appreciate is the process by which a decision is made. The company looks at the data. I look at the data. Then the company puts the data to the F.D.A."
The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight (by Sara Zhang in the Atlantic, Nov 18, 2020): "The invention of vaccines against a virus identified only 10 months ago is an extraordinary scientific achievement. They are the fastest vaccines ever developed, by a margin of years."
Larry Brilliant Says We'll Beat Covid - After We Go Through Hell (interview of Larry Brilliant by Steven Levy in Wired, Nov 18, 2020): "Science has proven we can develop a vaccine that not only creates neutralizing antibodies but prevents the disease. You can't underestimate how important that is." See also The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What's Coming (interview of Larry Brilliant by Steven Levy in Wired, March 19, 2020): "[We need] to see large numbers of people - in particular nurses, home health care providers, doctors, policemen, firemen, and teachers who have had the disease - are immune, and [to] have tested them to know that they are not infectious any longer. And we [need] a system that identifies them." See also Followup interview of Larry Brilliant (by Steven Levy in Wired, July 9, 2020): "Yes, there are absolutely more questions today than there were 100 days ago. But part of that is because we're getting more sophisticated in our ability to ask questions."
A room, a bar and a classroom: how the coronavirus is spread through the air (El Pais, Oct 28, 2020): Visual diagrams simulating Covid transmission, indoors, in varying situations.
U.S. Virus Cases Climb Toward a Third Peak (NYT, Oct 15, 2020): Animation showing virus's spread through the US, March through mid-October.
America Is Having a Moral Convulsion (David Brooks in The Atlantic, Oct 5, 2020): "This essay is an account of the convulsion that brought us to this fateful moment. Its central focus is social trust. . . . When people in a society lose faith or trust in their institutions and in each other, the nation collapses."
Thread on Covid vaccines (Florian Krammer, Sep 27, 2020)
Inside the Coronavirus That Outsmarted Science (WSJ, Sep 7, 2020): "SARS-CoV-2 is the infectious disease success of the past 100 years. Almost unmatched in the annals of emerging human contagions, it has parlayed a few chance infections into a pandemic of around 27 million confirmed cases so far."
What Happens to Viral Particles on the Subway (NYT, Aug 10, 2020): Interactive graphic showing viral spread within a subway car.
Inside the Coronavirus (by Mark Fischetti and Veronica Falconieri in Scientific American, July 2020) - see also the same article with static graphics.
Insane after coronavirus? (by Patricia Lockwood, London Review of Books, July 16, 2020)
A New Understanding of Herd Immunity (by James Hamblin in The Atlantic, July 13, 2020)
This Is the Future of the Pandemic (by Siobhan Roberts, NYT, May 8, 2020): Graphic models of possible trajectories of the pandemic. "A one-time social distancing effort will not be sufficient to control the epidemic in the long term, and that it will take a long time to reach herd immunity. . . . lacking a vaccine, our pandemic state of mind may persist well into 2021 or 2022."
What Happens Next: COVID-19 Futures, Explained With Playable Simulations (by Marcel Salathé and Nicky Case, May 1, 2020)
Take that, corona: more humor to get us through (Mark Hurst, May 1, 2020): second compilation of corona memes. (See also the first.)
How Coronavirus Mutates and Spreads (by Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer, NYT, April 30, 2020)
How Long Will a Vaccine Really Take? (by Stuart Thompson, NYT, April 30, 2020): "[Some] estimate a vaccine could arrive in at least 12 to 18 months. The grim truth behind this rosy forecast is that a vaccine probably won't arrive any time soon." (Compares vaccine arriving in the year 2036 vs. the goal of summer 2021.)
How does coronavirus kill? Clinicians trace a ferocious rampage through the body, from brain to toes (Science, April 17, 2020)
Fighting corona with humor (Mark Hurst, April 1, 2020): compilation of corona memes.
Why It's So Freaking Hard To Make A Good COVID-19 Model (by Maggie Koerth, Laura Bronner, and Jasmine Mithani in FiveThirtyEight, March 31, 2020)
Trump Wants to 'Reopen America.' Here's What Happens if We Do. (NYT interactive infection model, March 25, 2020)
Why the Coronavirus Has Been So Successful (by Ed Yong in the Atlantic, March 20, 2020): "We've known about SARS-CoV-2 for only three months, but scientists can make some educated guesses about where it came from and why it's behaving in such an extreme way."
Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance (by Tomas Pueyo in Medium, March 19, 2020): "Countries have two options: either they fight it hard now, or they will suffer a massive epidemic."
How the Coronavirus Could Take Over Your Body (Before You Ever Feel It) (by Jeff Wise in NYMag, March 18, 2020)
History in a Crisis - Lessons for Covid-19 (by David S. Jones in New England Journal of Medicine, March 12, 2020): "One dramatic aspect of epidemic response is the desire to assign responsibility. From Jews in medieval Europe to meat mongers in Chinese markets, someone is always blamed."
Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to "flatten the curve" (Washington Post infection simulation by Harry Stevens, March 14, 2020)