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Posts Tagged ‘Covid-19’

America is an exceptional country, exceptional not in the sense of excellence, but in the sense of being unusual.

survive

With Covid-19, America is again exceptional, with the worst performance among wealthy nations. Some might quibble with that claim and point to higher death rates in other countries. The real measure of our distinctiveness, however, is what has happened since the pandemic’s initial devastation. From February to April, many other countries acted in the dark even when they acted forcefully. By May, they had learned a lot, had gotten control, and were “flattening the curve.” Not the United States (beyond New York). America’s death rate declined slowly and then rose again, now, in late August, 2020, up to far higher levels than in comparable countries.

The exceptional disaster that is Covid-19 in America is, in part, the exceptional disaster that is Trump in the White House. But even a competent and honest administration would have had a struggle, and a Biden administration, should it take over, will, too.

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May 22, 2020. As we await the nation finding an equilibrium between Covid-19 deaths and routine life, observers are biding their shelter time forecasting the great social changes that the pandemic will have left in its wake. How much, how transformative, social change can we expect this pandemic to have brought?asteroid

Whether you anticipate profound changes or instead expect pretty much the same America after Covid-19 may depend on how you generally understand the way profound social change occurs. Does it entail “asteroidal” or “glacial” events? I borrow the terms from evolutionary history. An asteroid’s impact about 66 million years ago suddenly transformed life on Earth, including terminating the dinosaurs. On the other hand, gradual alterations in the earth’s spin and orientation expanded and reduced glacier coverage of the planet, which, in turn, slowly forced Earth’s life forms to adapt.

Is the Covid-19 pandemic an asteroidal shock to America, or will, a decade from now, its occurrence hardly be noted amidst America’s glacial changes?

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Around this time of the year, I write a post to celebrate the arrival of baseball, the national pastime. This year the pastime has not arrived on time; it may not arrive at all.

Its absence is far from the saddest story of Covid-19–though sad enough for the unemployed beer vendors, ticket-takers, and security guards, as well as the hot prospects who were going to break into the big leagues this year and the fading veterans who were going to resurrect their careers for just one more turn. Yet, true fans still yearn. We read the latest stories that baseball writers have scrounged from the recycle bins of their laptops, such as features on the best second-string left fielders who played on the teams west of Mississippi in 1977 or on the meals that the local team’s bullpen catcher is whipping up for his kids during confinement. Meanwhile, TV provides reruns of games that local nine never lose. empty ballpark trimmed

What will MLB do with the season? One idea being pitched and batted around, semi-endorsed by Dr. Anthony Fauci himself, is to play the games in stadiums scattered in a restricted locale–the Phoenix region is often mentioned–with the players effectively quarantined together (think of a cruise ship berthed in Scottsdale) and no fans in the stands, just tv cameras. What would baseball be like without the fans?

Athletes almost always publicly credit the fans, calling them the 6th man in basketball, the 10th man in baseball, the 12th man in football–really, the 6th, 10th, 12th person. Winning teams thank their fans for the support without which victory would have been impossible, losing teams praise them for their faith and loyalty through hard times. But, do fans really matter (besides paying the fare)?

I did a quick literature search on the topic.

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