A Covid-19 reading list for March 26

Here is a list of coronavirus-related articles, podcasts, and threads from around the internet that caught our eye:

  • Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to the Department of Labor. That’s the biggest single-week jump in new jobless claims in US history. The previous record: about 700,000 new claims, all the way back in 1982.
  • Here’s a Vox tracker of where each US state is currently on Covid-19 testing, confirmed cases, and deaths.
  • “Saving lives and saving the economy are not in conflict right now,” reads an Economic Strategy Group statement with signatories like Ben Bernanke, Janet Yellen, and Henry M. Paulson Jr. “We will hasten the return to robust economic activity by taking steps to stem the spread of the virus and save lives.”
  • This economics paper, released today, looked at how public health responses to the 1918 flu pandemic across the US impacted mortality rates and economic activity, and found that “early” and “aggressive” public health interventions “mitigate the adverse economic consequences of a pandemic” in addition to “lower[ing] mortality.”
  • It is easy to see the economic pain caused by strict social distancing measures because it is happening right in front of us, right now; it is almost impossible to imagine the incredible amount of future pain we will endure as a society if this virus continues to spread. This piece by Ed Yong envisions the different paths that future can take (this interactive visual is helpful as well).
  • What would a post-social distancing world look like? And how do we get there? Vox’s Brian Resnick explains how we can move “from a sledgehammer to scalpel” in our public health efforts.
  • So far, Japan has only reported around 1,400 cases of coronavirus, but according to an anonymous international team of researchers based in Tokyo, those numbers may be understated by a factor of five or more.
  • Many have attributed China’s rapid coronavirus response success as proof that authoritarian regimes handle these sorts of crises better than democracies. But, as Vox’s Zack Beauchamp writes, “the myth of authoritarian superiority” is not only empirically false — it is “actively harmful.”
  • The Senate passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package to address the economic fallout of coronavirus. There’s a lot of important provisions in the bill, but it probably won’t be nearly enough to rescue small businesses.
  • It might be a relatively new phenomenon, but coronavirus “skepticism” looks a whole lot like “climate skepticism.”
  • The US may soon face a dangerous shortage of health care workers as doctors and nurses report severe gear shortages, lax protocols, and extremely high levels of stress in their workplaces.
  • It is important that our response to coronavirus response is rooted in data; it is also important to recognize the limitations of the statistics and models we have available to us.
  • Is the cure worse than the disease? Was the $2 trillion Senate stimulus package enough? And how much time to we have to get this thing under control? These podcasts have the answers.

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