In the New Yorker’s recent Covid opus, which took up an entire edition of the magazine, these lessons don’t appear. It cites two “missed opportunities” to defeat the virus: China’s failure to fess up about human-to-human transmission and the early U.S. testing fiascoes.
It’s wrong about both. Covid was out of the bag globally before Beijing even knew it existed. And U.S. testing could hardly have isolated early Covid sufferers when 59% of spreaders have no symptoms and most of the sick have symptoms indistinguishable from the colds and flus millions suffer every day.
The new coronavirus was an efficient spreader and was not going to be stopped, as much as politics resists the idea of realities that can’t be changed by politics.
A third “missed opportunity” was mask adoption, but masks are only one element of social distancing. Research by the Covid States Project shows that, starting early last summer, Americans donned masks but curtailed their physical separation, contributing to the year-end surge.
We can intelligently say only that America’s social distancing could have been better. It also could have been worse.
Source: Wall Street Journal