Lockdown Learning

Three months into our new COVID-19 world, I like to look back at the great learning I’ve done. Constantly grasping at online sources to try to make sense of world around me, I’ve stumbled across some really great information that has helped me understand science, philosophy, politics, and humans better. Some of my favorites:


Why Soap Works

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/13/health/soap-coronavirus-handwashing-germs.html

Soap is really cool. It is amazing. I don't think I ever bothered to think about how it kills bacteria and viruses - it doesn't just unlatch them from your hands - it bonds to them and stabs them to death.


Who Becomes the Nominee if Biden or Trump Die of COVID-19?

https://fivethirtyeight.com/videos/what-happens-if-a-nominee-dies-before-the-general-election/

With two septuagenarian presidential candidates and a year that has already been full of unexpected twists and turns, I found this article talking about what most likely would happen if one of the presidential candidates were to succumb to covid-19 before their party's convention, before the election, or before inauguration.


The Coronavirus Lab in Wuhan

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/14/state-department-cables-warned-safety-issues-wuhan-lab-studying-bat-coronaviruses/

I work for the government, so I am generally pretty skeptical of the conspiracy theories that have come out of all of this. Just watch a bunch of bureaucrats try to make a Zoom meeting work and then tell me a straight face that anyone in the U.S. government has the ability and power to keep large complicated conspiracies secret from the general public. There is no BUT here - I still flat out reject the conspiracy theories about COVID-19 being man-made or intentionally released by the Chinese or the Democrats or the Masons or whoever.


What is super interesting, though, is learning about the lab in Wuhan where the outbreak first occurred and the really dangerous coronavirus research it was doing with poorly-trained staff. Sure, COVID-19 could have accidentally come from this lab. Does that mean that China should pay the world reparations? Or the countries that funded the lab's research (which include the United States)?


The Public Policy Ethics of "Opening Up the Economy"

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/04/30/coronavirus-shutdown-altitude-ethics-223569

Clit-bait title aside, this article is an interesting explanation of the moral dilemmas policy-makers have in deciding how to react to the pandemic and the looming recession.


How Governments Should Fight COVID-19

https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-the-hammer-and-the-dance-be9337092b56 Back in March, I rolled my eyes at all of the armchair virologists, and public health experts that started popping up. I rolled my eyes at this article, which was shared by Tomas Pueyo in a WhatsApp group we're both in. However, his tight distillation of the challenge we face and the tools available to us was and is impressive, and has gone on to influence policy makers around the world. And three months in, it's aged pretty well.




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