“Dumb Reopening”

Coronavirus Roundup, Part 2

I ended the previous installment of this roundup by defining the right basic question: What is the nature of the problem we’re confronting, how does it work, and how do we solve it?

First, since we are awash in misinformation about coronavirus, I want to direct you to some good sources. Twitter has actually been better than I expected. There are a lot of crazy conspiracy theories circulated there, of course, but there are also some very good and well-informed people and some genuine experts. I recommend following Amesh Adalja (@AmeshAA), Scott Gottlieb (@ScottGottliebMD), and Pradheep Shanker (@Neoavatara), who does a very good job of collating worthwhile news stories and tweets.

I am much less impressed with Facebook, and it seems to have a nefarious influence in one particular respect. On Twitter, when you see amateur speculations, crackpot science, and conspiracy theories, they tend to come from people you don’t know personally, so they’re easier to ignore or dismiss. When you see them on Facebook, they tend to come from people you know and are predisposed to think well of, so you’re more likely to want to take them seriously. I think that’s why Facebook tends to serve as a Chinese wet market of coronavirus disinformation: an unhealthy place to spend time. But if you must go there, I recommend checking out Evan Madianos, who does a good job of posting reliable information. Also, Stuart Hayashi frequently does some of the unpleasant work of digging up facts that debunk the most common conspiracy theories.

Among conservative journalists, the one I find most consistently valuable is National Review‘s Jim Geraghty, who is one of the few people coming from the world of political commentary to look at this issue from a perspective that is not driven by politics or partisanship.

So let’s begin by assessing the current state of the pandemic in the US.

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