Sunday, February 28, 2021

Is there a moment?

It's understandable that people are interested in #TheMoment, that one time when they realized that Covid-19 was going to be something really big and disruptive.  But maybe the focus should be more explicitly on the retrospective aspect: not a moment that was immediately evident, but something that stuck in your mind when you saw it, but its significance only became apparent later. Here's an example, from RTE one year ago tomorrow:

Meanwhile, a healthcare expert from the Royal College of Surgeons said the urgency of Covid-19 merits the cessation of government formation talks and for political leaders to instead focus on national planning to deal with an outbreak of the virus here. Professor Sam McConkey, Associate Professor of International Health/Tropical Medicine at RCSI, ... also said that an '"open, transparent national discussion" should take place to decide upon "acceptable levels of social control and social distancing" as Irish people are not used to being told what they can and cannot do. He said the spread of the virus onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship and across northern Italy showed that efforts to contain the spread had failed. He said the "draconian measures" of mass quarantine and social distancing in China seem to have reduced the spread of the virus so Ireland needs to consider how best to approach an outbreak here.

At the time, this seemed jarring. All the discussion was around individual or a small number of cases. Prof McConkey was warning of the possibility that the disease was not contained and radical measures like in China might have to be considered, despite their seemingly shocking nature. It would still be many weeks before this level of alarm permeated the general debate. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Song for a year into the pandemic


George Harrison and Leon Russell - Beware Of Darkness - Live Madison Square Garden 1971 [link if embed doesn't work ]

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Curiosity and the cat, etc.

 US House Member Marjorie Taylor Greene in her otherwise patently insincere apology for believing crazy stuff today (via WSJ) --

“I was allowed to believe things that weren’t true and I would ask questions about them and talk about them and that is absolutely what I regret,” she said Thursday, wearing a “Free Speech” mask.

Note: she's admitting that "asking questions" was her gateway to believing crazy stuff. It's a case study in faux-scepticism.