New York Review writers on the coronavirus outbreak around the world
When my panic attacks became unbearable, I switched to Fox News to calm my nerves with the promises that everything is under full control, that there is a magic cure on its way, and that the president is the biggest gift one can ask for in such challenging days.
Covid-19 is undoubtedly testing our public health, medical, and economic systems. But it’s also testing our ability to process so much frightening and imminently consequential data.
The 52 percent who voted Leave in 2016 knew the post-Brexit promises were lies and it didn’t matter. What does matter now to half the country is the chance Never To Be Told, either by experts or anyone else, let alone Johnny Foreigner.
Part five of a running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak around the world
The millions in America who have tax IDs, so that they can work without formal authorization, are now denied help in the form of unemployment benefits—they are the only US taxpayers excluded from the coronavirus stimulus package.
The world is in disarray. The virus has spread to all continents. It has snuck in, even among those of us who are not directly affected. It forces our true personalities to the surface. In my district in Oslo, my neighbors have become closer to who they really are. Are we in this together? “The virus is a wake-up call,” one of my doctor friends says, standing in a white bikini on a dock by the Oslo fjord. “We have messed up nature. We have exploited it in places we shouldn’t have been.”
I helped a man to see his father on a ventilator using WhatsApp on my phone since he couldn’t figure out how to use the Zoom system on the hospital tablets. The son was in Haiti. He was told that his father was “crashing” —a word used in the hospital now for when the lungs are giving out. Computers crash, stock markets crash, cars crash. Now lungs crash. There was a strange and unexpected intimacy in seeing the son seeing his father. I can’t get the look of serenity on his face out of my mind. Some greet fate with such grace.
A hundred and fifty years ago, a strange notion: the dead could be counted. Now, we speak easily in the statistics of absence, of fifty dead in a mass shooting, of fourteen hundred missing in an earthquake, as if this has always been done.
For many, the coronavirus outbreak is illuminating the fault lines of disenfranchisement, poverty, and disparity that course through our nation.
I hear every day from the family members of incarcerated people who are asking themselves the same thing I am now: How can I keep my family safe?
The old-fashioned fuddy-duddy telephone—which once seemed as dated as Dorothy Parker’s short story “The Telephone Call,” in which a young woman waits desperately for a man to call—is suddenly back in style.
The entwined crises of the coronavirus and the 2020 Census are exposing a ruthless political economy in which only certain types of people count.
It would be foolish to understate the obstacles to democracy in America at the moment. Yet it’s also true that solidarity, the connections that are created and sustain democracy, is often a story of surprise.
Part four of a running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak around the world
Wild landscape was the only thing I finally came to miss after weeks at sea. It is the only thing I miss now. I am being a good citizen, and so I must run nearby, and make do with what my city can offer me.
For the past forty years, we’ve been underfunding government—including spending that prepares us for crises and disasters—and that’s made our economy and our society less resilient.
With seder guests: Etgar Keret in Israel • Anna Winger in Germany • Pamela Druckerman in France • Jonathan Freedland in England • Taffy Brodesser-Akner in New Jersey • Jenny Slate in Massachusetts
We have no effective testing kit for this pestilence as long as it lurks among us. It doesn’t manifest until it attacks people. Anti-Asian incidents around the globe spiked after the epidemic outbreak.
I’ve been watching my neighbor for months, since I moved my desk from the front of my apartment to the back. But now that she and her neighbors are the people I see most everyday, beside my boyfriend and myself in the mirror, I feel especially invested in them. Park Slope looks as picturesque as a stage set: a quality that’s easy to miss in real life, when you’re being shoved and yelled at in the food coop.
It didn’t occur to me that the virus would affect anyone my age, let alone me. I was simply focused on the baby’s arrival.
Part three of a running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak around the world
“I decided that with this gift of time, we might teach our kids the things we have not yet gotten around to teaching them: how to tie their shoes, ride bikes, and tell time.”
Part two of a running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak around the world
“The only person I have touched in a week is my two-year-old daughter. Every selfie I take of us is a photograph of me trying to inhale her. The streets outside are empty, the ambulance sirens constant, the sunshine an insult. Beyond our windows, the city is running out of ventilators.”
The first part in a running series of brief dispatches by New York Review writers documenting the coronavirus outbreak around the world