COVID‑19 is an assault on America’s body, and a referendum on the ideas that animate its culture. Recovery is possible, but it demands radical introspection. America would be wise to help reverse the ruination of the natural world, a process that continues to shunt animal diseases into human bodies. It should strive to prevent sickness instead of profiting from it. It should build a health-care system that prizes resilience over brittle efficiency, and an information system that favors light over heat. It should rebuild its international alliances, its social safety net, and its trust in empiricism. It should address the health inequities that flow from its history. Not least, it should elect leaders with sound judgment, high character, and respect for science, logic, and reason.
The pandemic has been both tragedy and teacher. Its very etymology offers a clue about what is at stake in the greatest challenges of the future, and what is needed to address them. Pandemic. Pan and demos. All people.
When people critique Dan Andrews and his response to the coronavirus, Ed Yong’s long read highlights how things could be far worse.