Pessimism is the mood of the day, with 80 percent of Americans saying the country is generally out of control. Even before civil unrest and pestilence, most Americans believed our country was in decline, Pew reported, with a shrinking middle class, increased indebtedness and growing polarization. It’s a dark hour, but the United States has … Read more How the Virus Is Pushing America Toward a Better Future
A platitude, widely circulated in my youth, held that “ideas have consequences.” It is true, after a fashion. It is especially true of stupid ideas. Already, half a century ago, in the universities I was determined to avoid (except their libraries, and interesting professors), it seemed to me that “Dullness” reigned. This is the goddess … Read more The triumph of Dullness
America’s downtowns were on a roll. Starting to revive in the 1980s and ’90s after years of decline, they had grown to become regional engines again: destinations for entertainment, residential neighborhoods in their own right, and homes to growth in business sectors as industries like technology startups began to cluster there. Some downtowns were downright … Read more The Cloud over the Future of America’s Downtowns
What can we do to limit asymptomatic spread? Any time a virus can be spread by people without symptoms, you have to turn to preventative measures. Social distancing measures and lockdowns work, but have large economic and social repercussions. These were necessary when epidemiologists didn’t know how the virus was spreading, but now we know … Read more 5 Crucial Things You Need to Know About Asymptomatic Spread of COVID-19
“Coronavirus hasn’t been a thing since Friday,” said a friend. “The new story is racism.” Following American media culture can make one’s head spin. For three months, all we heard was the danger to life and civilization presented by a novel virus. Millions will die! Few will be spared! There will be unprecedented suffering unless … Read more Looters, Lockdowners, and the Law
In this miserable Covid-19 spring, it’s tempting for remote workers to vent our frustrations with being hemmed in, forced to stare at screens while unable to do much else other than walk around the block or go to Costco. Yet the pain felt by the teleworking middle class is dwarfed by that of working-class Americans. … Read more The Virus’s Uneven Path: Working-class communities face mounting economic stress
Despite what many people hoped, COVID-19 is clearly worse than the seasonal flu. But despite what other people feared, it does not seem to be nearly as lethal as the “Spanish flu” of 1918, which killed about 0.7 percent of the total U.S. population—equivalent to more than 2 million people today. As we move from … Read more A Middle Course Between COVID-19 Hopes and Fears
More than half of all U.S. counties have reported no coronavirus-related deaths, an analysis by the Heritage Foundation shows. In light of the data, the Heritage Foundation created a National Coronavirus Recovery Commission to offer policy solutions to lawmakers to avert an economic depression “regardless of whether COVID-19 is suppressed in the next several months … Read more Heritage Foundation: More than half of all U.S. counties report zero COVID-19 deaths
There are many things that can disrupt the production and distribution of goods. A hurricane might do that for a while, as it did in parts of Texas and the rest of the country when Harvey drenched Houston and put an important gasoline pipeline out of commission. Not having easy access to retail gasoline for … Read more Venezuela, for a Season
With much of the world’s population being asked or required to stay home and follow physical-distancing guidelines, once-bustling restaurants and cafés now sit empty. Although a few quick-service restaurants (QSRs) are seeing heightened demand in takeout and delivery—several US pizza chains, for instance, are hiring thousands of workers as orders spike—most other QSRs have experienced … Read more Delivering when it matters: Quick-service restaurants in coronavirus times
What should you be doing right now? If the answer is “not reading this article,” you might want to keep going. If you’re reading this article because you’re distracting yourself from something that needs to be done, you might be struggling with something called acedia. On March 2, just before the coronavirus pandemic caused shutdowns … Read more What is acedia, how do you pronounce it, and why does this priest tweet about it?
I worry about our ever-expanding cult of safety and nod in agreement with so much of sociologist Frank Furedi’s description of the “Paradox of our Safety Addiction.” He argues that “the zero risk mentality breeds a culture of anxiety and a hunger for authority.” . . . Close to 20 years experience in campus ministry, … Read more Safety Addiction – Hygienic Fascism
One of my bored-in-quarantine activities is mocking Facebook friends for their faith in various Utopian government-run schemes for winning the war against the evil coronavirus. Most of these schemes require a perfectly efficient government, the elimination of the Constitutional rights of healthy young people, and a perfectly compliant population (including the 22 million undocumented). Usually … Read more Plague-proof the U.S. with nursing home and hotel pairings?
Before the closures, no one could have imagined that for Clemson’s (South Carolina) 50-year-old downtown district. The football team’s run of championship contenders and a 30% rise in enrollment since 2010 propelled a surge on College Avenue after the 2008 economic recession and road construction that discouraged traffic through the area. Now, the open parking … Read more No students. No graduation. ‘Total devastation’ in college towns during coronavirus pandemic
A well-organized Nigerian crime ring is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by committing large-scale fraud against multiple state unemployment insurance programs, with potential losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a new alert issued by the U.S. Secret Service. U.S. Secret Service: “Massive Fraud” Against State Unemployment Insurance Programs Related PostsTexas homeowners seek … Read more U.S. Secret Service: “Massive Fraud” Against State Unemployment Insurance Programs
As Chinese diplomats are summoned to chancelleries all over Europe for an upbraiding over Beijing’s complicity in the coronavirus pandemic, the clock is ticking on one of the most important diplomatic decisions facing the Vatican. At the same time, the most senior bishop in Asia has bitterly attacked the credibility of the Chinese regime, restricting … Read more China’s Coronavirus Mishandling Further Undermines Accord With Vatican
Restaurants never run themselves. The work routine cannot be established and then left on autopilot. The work is endless and thankless. Five percent of it, perhaps, has something to do with cooking; the other 95 percent is cleaning, budgeting, ordering, hiring, managing, filling out paperwork and paying taxes. A restaurant is not a big dinner … Read more Kitchen Nightmares In The Restaurant Apocalypse of 2020
I’m kind of curious as to why Americans have placed such faith in the prophecies offered by epidemiologists given that epidemiology is primarily a retrospective activity and there is no historical data on how virus transmission is affected by a Western-style “porous lockdown”. It is as though people in the 1980s had decided that the … Read more The Swedes actually did have Covid-19 models
So what might learning to live with COVID-19 look like? Keeping firmly in mind that all models are imperfect, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME) model recently raised its projection of U.S. COVID-19 deaths to 137,000 by the beginning of August. In comparison, the model developed by Youyang Gu and … Read more Quarantine Fatigue and the Social End to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Author Aldous Huxley once said, “A thoroughly scientific dictatorship will never be overthrown.” Even as we try to battle the COVID-19 pestilence, we may be contracting a more dangerous virus — hygienic fascism. This involves a process when our political leaders defer to a handful of “experts,” amid what Dr. Joseph Ladopo, an associate professor … Read more Hygienic fascism: Turning the world into a ‘safe space’ — but at what cost?
Sometimes the truth is like mythical kryptonite. It radiates power and yet promises great destruction. And so reality is to be left alone, encased in lead, and kept at bay. Take the Chinese genesis of the COVID-19 epidemic. We started in February with the usual Chinese deceptions about their role in the birth, transmission, and … Read more Unbearable Truths About Our Current Political Moment – “hygienic fascism”
Writing in this magazine a month ago, I applauded the government’s stated aim of trying to follow the science in dealing with Covid. Such promises are easier made than kept. Following science means understanding science. It means engaging with rival interpretations of the limited data in order to tease out what is most important in … Read more Ten reasons to end the lockdown now
Early numbers show how significantly the coronavirus is devastating states’ revenue streams — and could force choices between raising taxes or gutting services and laying off public employees. Why it matters: Even as some states move toward reopening, the economic ramifications of having shut down will haunt them far into the future. When states can … Read more States face economic death spiral from coronavirus
As I recently wrote here, and spoke about here, bans on elective surgery invoked by governors across the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many people to suffer and even possibly face fatal consequences due to delays in necessary medical care. But there are other reasons why the public health emergency has … Read more Will This Novel Virus Revive Older Ones?
A three-column article in the local daily recently revealed the alarming news that Arizona State Sen. Lupe Contreras and members of his family had tested positive for the coronavirus. I wish Sen. Contreras and his family well. He seems like a good guy. But in a sane world without the hyperbolic, breathless press treatment of … Read more Why Did We Treat Coronavirus So Differently Than Other Epidemics?