🚨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/
Throughout the year, I’ve tried to write pieces that help us make sense of this generation-defining crisis, deal with the constant gaslighting, see the bigger picture, and find structure amid uncertainty and complexity. I hope this new one helps. Fin/
The closing line of 's latest switched on a lightbulb for me. I would not have thought to draw a line between the acceptance of gun violence and the acceptance of #Covid19 response failure.
This piece is now a month old, but you can tick off almost all of these 9 errors in the events of the last week.
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
At the end of this piece, talks about “the habituation of horror.” This is a real danger. We can and do accept a certain level of death in exchange for convenience, in ways that we just don’t have to
Incredible and brutal new piece from about why America just can’t seem to right itself mid-descent
Holy shit, this lede. I mean, the entire thing is typically exceptional explanatory journalism by . But that lede ...
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/
The perfect metaphor for the US pandemic response: the army ant “death spiral.” Following looping pheromone trails, the ants walk in endless self-destructive circles, walled in by their own unhelpful instincts. We should/can do better. 5/
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
so much good stuff here from , but the insistence on One Perfect Solution instead of kludging together a lot of pretty-good options is especially relevant (and germane to other policy questions, particularly climate)
As per usual, gives us a bitter (but much needed) dose of reality on the pandemic situation in the US. What’s the opposite of “magical thinking”? An Ed Yong article!
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/
oof, the kicker to Ed Yong's latest. I was already kind of having a miserable day.
More than 200k Americans have died of covid - about 70 9/11s, with no end in sight. Indeed, things are getting worse, as the US enters a "Pandemic Spiral," as writes in . Yong identifies 9 factors driving the spiral: 1/
Just an incredibly sharp piece on how America found itself in a pandemic spiral
Yes, #misinformation, #disinformation, conspiracy theories are awful. But this pandemic spawns many kinds of conceptual failures & fallacies. We must know them and name them. ’s latest on core #scicomm/#healthcomm challenges
. knows how to write a lede
Nugget for people teaching social problems in this by from sociologist Lori Peek: “In order for us to mobilize around a social problem we all have to agree that it’s a problem. You really would have thought that with a pandemic it would be easy”
"Stay-at-home orders dominated March. Masks were fiercely debated in April. Contact tracing took its turn in May. Ventilation is having its moment now. 'It’s like we only have attention for only one thing at a time,' says " writes
Another🔥piece by : "Pandemic data are like the light of distant stars, recording past events instead of present ones. This lag separates actions from their consequences by enough time to break our intuition for cause and effect."
Oh my goodness, is a phenomenal science writer. I read this sentence two days ago and am still thinking about it.
Must read article by - important lessons for all jurisdictions. We will need to learn to live with COVID19 but to effectively manage the medical, economic, and social impact of the disease we must address our 9 errors of intution
These errors aren’t unique to COVID-19. But as I explain in the final section, they’ve been exacerbated by features of this particular pandemic, and by the people who are meant to lead the US out of it--but have instead made things much worse. 4/
"Several experts I’ve talked with have been asked: What now? The question assumes that the pandemic lingers because the U.S. simply hasn’t found the right solution yet. In fact, it lingers because...solutions were never fully implemented."
Sad and poignant. Another indictment of America’s historically awful response to the pandemic while Trump congratulates himself like a strutting peacock. Reminds me of another sad and poignant meme during the Katrina disaster: “Heckuva job, Brownie!”
“Like poverty and racism, school shootings and police brutality, mass incarceration and sexual harassment, widespread extinctions and changing climate, COVID-19 might become yet another unacceptable thing that America comes to accept.” Gut punch.
If you're susceptible to motion sickness, it's a good idea to face forward and focus on a fixed point on the horizon. As we continue navigating this nauseating landscape, folks like hone in on what's making this disorienting, & offer an anchor.
*HUGE* thanks to for her work in editing this piece. She was instrumental in helping me think through the right degree of lumping/splitting for the 9 errors & in just generally sharpening everything up.
Esse artigo é leitura fundamental para quem se sente à vontade para ler em inglês (ou usar o tradutor do Google). Um ponto que tem me preocupado muito: as milhares de infecções crônicas de COVID não estão recebendo a devida atenção.
Everything in here is so good but I want to point out #4 in particular. A lot of people On Here get off on blaming individuals' decisions for systemic failures
The sanest thing I’ve read about covid in maybe forever. Even-handed, pragmatic, very much on the moment. I’d think we all could agree on this. But, sadly, I’m sure not
The 9 errors of intuition that are keeping the US hamstrung by #COVID19. If you read one thing today, make it this one, by .
on the obvious parallels between #armyants and the US response to Covid-19.
If you are reading just one thing today - I recommend this article! A fabulous read and great insights!
This is a really thoughtful, interesting article from about the psychological traps that keep people in the States from confronting the realities of the coronavirus -- and make the pandemic worse.
If you want to read more about this, check out Ed's entire piece here
Our paper on Covid-19 testing at US colleges (, , , ) referenced in 's piece. "Many colleges started their semester with in-person teaching and inadequate testing…"
"The country is now trapped in an intuition nightmare: Like the spiraling ants, Americans are walled in by their own unhelpful instincts, which lead them round and round in self-destructive circles." via: ,
Can't believe Ed Yong wrote yet another fantastic article using the analogy of an ant mill to eloquently explain our current situation when I've been thinking about incoherent rage tweeting about how we're all ant milling for like, days now.
Late to this, but my lord this lede. what do you eat for breakfast? also, #3 on his list of conceptual errors in the pandemic response, "the comfort of theatricality," really hit me hard.
"Seat belts won’t prevent all fatal car crashes, but cars also come with airbags and crumple zones." dropping some intense truths in this article
"They march endlessly until they’re felled by exhaustion or dehydration. The ants can sense no picture bigger than what’s immediately ahead. They have no coordinating force to guide them to safety."
It is tempting to see 's list of epistemic errors in the pandemic response as emblematic of countless other failures to address systemic problems. I'm giving in to temptation.
#RequiredReading - America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral - The Atlantic
Ed Yong always hits the mark.
. opens with the perfect metaphor: army ants trapped in a death spiral of their own design. He then lays out, masterfully, the nine errors of thinking that continue to trap us in a failed Covid response. Always read Ed. But you knew that already.
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
"Several experts I’ve talked with have been asked: What now? The question assumes that the pandemic lingers because the U.S. simply hasn’t found the right solution yet. In fact, it lingers because the familiar solutions were never fully implemented."
The White House Rose Garden Super-Spreader Event is both an illustrative microcosm of WHY the United States is trapped in a pandemic spiral AND SPECIFICALLY CAUSALLY ACCOUNTABLE TO THE MACROCOSM
“The U.S. might stop treating the pandemic as the emergency that it is. Daily tragedy might become ambient noise. The desire for normality might render the unthinkable normal.“ ⁦
Great article that outlines how the US has failed (and continues to fail) in its #COVID19 response. We can fix it, but we need strong leadership from the highest levels, a unified response, and we need to take ownership of our mistakes to correct them.
7/9 On 9/11, I reflect on deaths. My group is called Resolve to Save Lives with reason. We risk getting hardened to tragedy. Superb article on this and more at . More than 1,000 deaths/day recently. Even at “only” 500 deaths/day, this would mean:
Superb article by ⁦⁩! These are crucial traps to avoid.
When little changes. I'd call it Brownian motion called it a death spiral (a much better metaphor, from ants)
PS. Some of you have kindly said that you're looking forward to a time when I can return to nature writing, and, well, the army ants bit comes from the book about animal senses that I still need to finish. I guess you got your wish?
“None of these other nations did everything, but all did enough things right—and did them simultaneously. By contrast, the U.S. engaged in …” I applaud ⁦⁦⁩ for not ending this sentence and the article with “a sad list of fuck-ups.”
“[Ants] have no coordinating force to guide them to safety. They are imprisoned by a wall of their own instincts. This...is called the death spiral. I can think of no better metaphor for the United States of America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
You should read this, which is probably the single best piece I’ve read about the pandemic. Superb work, ⁦⁩and ⁦⁩.
One of his best, and that's saying a lot: Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the #COVID19 pandemic
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led them astray. Nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic. 🦠🇺🇸🔥
"Daily tragedy might become ambient noise. The desire for normality might render the unthinkable normal...COVID-19 might become yet another unacceptable thing that America comes to accept." Let's not let that happen. Another must-read from
How horrific: „Like poverty and racism, school shootings and police brutality, mass incarceration and sexual harassment, widespread extinctions and changing climate, #COVID-19 might become yet another unacceptable thing that America comes to accept.“
When illness is averted and lives are spared, “nothing happens and all you have is the miracle of a normal, healthy day,” says Howard Koh, a public-health professor at Harvard. “People take that for granted.” The #publichealth paradox that stops investment
This brilliant piece by ⁦⁩ is a must read - it also shows why #socialscience is a must in planning and understanding #Covid-19 response - and for that matter any #publichealth measure
America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral As the U.S. heads toward the winter, the country is going round in circles, making the same conceptual errors
Wake up, America! "Like poverty & racism, school shootings & police brutality, mass incarceration & sexual harassment, widespread extinctions & changing climate, COVID might become yet another unacceptable thing that America comes to accept"
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic: - key reading for ,
This characteristically excellent piece offers a useful taxonomy of societal dysfunction. I still despair for the future of the US, but at least my despair is now more structured.
"The U.S. might stop treating the pandemic as the emergency that it is. Daily tragedy might become ambient noise. The desire for normality might render the unthinkable normal." Must-read from .
Must-read! Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
Yes to 's bald statement that a world with COVID-19 is 'fundamentally different' from one without it. It just can't have 'all the trappings of the latter'. Last few days have felt very full of those who refuse/deny grey reality of this truth  
“Our pandemic summer is nearly over. Now come fall, the season of preparation, and winter, the season of survival. The U.S. must reset its mindset to accomplish both” Typically brilliant by in
Army ants will sometimes walk in circles until they die. They march endlessly until they’re felled by exhaustion or dehydration. They have no coordinating force to guide them to safety. I can think of no better metaphor for the USA’s response to COVID-19.
A successful response to #COVID19 “is never going to be one thing done perfectly. It’ll be a lot of different things done well enough.” The difficulty to bring this across in all #publichealth measures, think of #obesity and #sugar debate #magicbullet
Superb ⁦⁩: Like poverty, racism, school shootings, police brutality, mass incarceration, sexual harassment, widespread extinctions and changing climate, COVID-19 might become yet another unacceptable thing that America comes to accept.
Ed Yong in the Atlantic on Nine Reasons America is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral.
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
Please, please read
Most-read on The Atlantic, and deservedly so: Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the #COVID19 pandemic
It’s not just the US that is run by puritans, #HongKong too. nails the idiocy of why HK has re-opened restaurants, cinemas, gyms and even mahjong parlors before beaches
"Like poverty & racism, school shootings & police brutality, mass incarceration & sexual harassment, widespread extinctions & changing climate, #COVID19 might become another unacceptable thing that America comes to accept." Powerful piece by
This new piece in by is spot-on. And somewhat terrifying. The US response to #COVID19 has been worse than most other countries. And sadly, we’re getting used to that.
21/ Yong’s new article in describes nine conceptual errors that contributed to America's Covid failure As with all Yong’s Covid pieces, it’s a magnificent tapestry of science, history, sociology, psychology and politics. I hope you'll read it.
“Like poverty and racism, school shootings and police brutality, mass incarceration and sexual harassment, widespread extinctions and changing climate, COVID-19 might become yet another unacceptable thing that America comes to accept.”
Thank you for your guide to COVID reasoning errors
The reporting being done by remains some of the most vital on the pandemic. Another must-read for anyone worried about the terrifying normalization of the U.S.’s deadly response to COVID as we approach winter
As usual, tells it like it is
America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral via ⁦⁩ ⁦⁩ cc: ⁦
Solid article from The Atlantic . Much to reflect on Canada’s responses (good and not so good). America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral - The Atlantic
Agree w/ that a big #COVID19 failure has been to focus on only one thing at a time - contact tracing, masks, fast cheap tests, vaccines. If we can’t break the mono-solution habit ... (1/2)
"Pushing for universal health care is harder than shaming an unmasked stranger."
"[Army ants] have no coordinating force to guide them to safety. They are imprisoned by a wall of their own instincts. This phenomenon is called the death spiral. I can think of no better metaphor for the USA'S response to the COVID-19 pandemic"
Another must-read from ⁦⁩ on #COVID19 in what must be ⁦⁩ favorite publication at the moment—⁦⁩, which is on a roll and publishing some pretty damn provocative stuff. America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral.
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led USA astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
ICYMI: Another great one by . "As the U.S. heads toward the winter, the country is going round in circles, making the same conceptual errors that have plagued it since spring." #Pandemic #America #Failures
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
Our sad situation begs for some insights into how we got here and how we might possibly escape it. Try
If you haven't read 's pandemic spiral piece in , do so now. (&/or listen to the NPR short wave piece: ) We need break this cycle of inadequate, uncoordinated, politically-driven #COVID19 non-strategy. #VOTE
“Pandemic data are like the light of distant stars, recording past events instead of present ones. This lag separates actions from consequences by enough time to break our intuition for cause and effect. Policy makers end up acting only when it’s too late”
America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral - The Atlantic
Another excellent Covid piece by , cataloging the false tradeoffs, misplaced moralisms, theatricality, complacency, slow responses, denials, that made this even worse. There are deeper stories to be told, but this is what they need to explain.
America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral - The Atlantic by ⁦
"Americans are walled in by their own unhelpful instincts, which lead them round and round in self-destructive circles."
Another excellent deep dive by Ed Yong. #COVID “Now, as winter looms and the pandemic continues, another dichotomy has emerged: enter another awful lockdown, or let the virus run free. This choice, too, is false.”
If you haven't seen 's piece on the Pandemic Death Spiral, it is fantastic. I love his metaphor of the "Serial Monogamy of Solutions". Especially bc caught criticism for its long-form precautionary principle approach. 1/
America Is Trapped in a Pandemic Spiral | more from
A brilliant analysis: Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the #COVID19 pandemic
Good read. As "The U.S. enters the ninth month of the pandemic with more than 6.3 million confirmed cases and more than 189,000 confirmed deaths." details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic
Many Americans trusted intuition to help guide them through this disaster, but it has led us astray. details nine conceptual errors that are keeping the U.S. trapped in the pandemic