I’ve written a few posts in the last few days titled “How it feels”. We’re witnessing a massive global event unfold - in public, in real time. The world’s collective attention has never been focused towards solving a single problem like it is today. It’s important to chronicle this time, so I’ll likely be doing this often over the upcoming weeks.
There are two broad narratives at play right now: how to stop the virus, and how to manage the fallout.
Stopping the virus is a global discourse about ways to prevent its spread, the capacity of the healthcare system, vaccines and the like. In this narrative, there are parallel tracks of progress to do everything from in-home testing to speedier drug testing. This virus is horrible. But it’s heartening to see science and scientists on primetime, and to witness knowledge sharing without the fear of retribution.
I’m trying to stay positive about this - there are countless examples, the President of the United States included - who are spreading scientific disinformation. Lies are costing lives, as Om wrote recently.
The second narrative is about how to manage the fallout. The fallout is a way to encompass the n-th order effects of the virus. The virus has forced schools to shutdown, leaving many students who depended on a daily meal to be left without one. At the same time, parents are forced to stay at home, losing jobs, not being able to pay rent. Downstream, this touches everything. Bailouts and temporary relief packages will only do so much. The world is stopping, and through that we see how our economic machine works. Through this, we can see what pieces are the most critical to build back up.
The unfortunate truth is that process will be slow. COVID’s economic effects may cause just as much, if not more, suffering and death as the disease itself.
For my family, friends and myself - we’ve been lucky so far. But the world is changing around us.