The Best Articles on Covid

A Very Bumpy Ride

Larry Brilliant et al | Edge | 7th December 2020

Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant discusses the past and future of the pandemic, and lessons learned, with other scientists. Getting a vaccine to market in 14 months has been a fantastic achievement; but Covid-19 will never be eradicated, because other species will harbour it; and there will be more such pandemics, so long as we have global commerce and tourism without a global public health system (11,470 words)

The Origin Of Covid

Nicholas Wade | Bulletin Of Atomic Scientists | 5th May 2021

Wade weighs evidence that the Covid virus originated in the wild, perhaps among Chinese bats, against evidence that the virus was leaked unintentionally from a Wuhan laboratory that was conducting research financed by the US government. Wade warns against drawing final conclusions, but believes the preponderance of evidence in favour of a lab leak is overwhelming (11,100 words)

So Much Prosperity, So Much Scepticism

Morgan Housel | Collaborative Fund | 7th January 2021

Before making forecasts about the US economy after Covid, we need to understand what Covid has done to the economy so far. Not what you might think. "Household finances might be in the best shape they’ve ever been in. Ever. That might sound crazy, and it’s easy to overlook because of the second story: Covid has dumped kerosene on wealth inequality in ways we’ve yet to fully grasp" (3,200 words)

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The Coronavirus At One

Andrew Joseph | Statnews | 14th December 2020

What we have learned about Covid-19 in Year One. It is nothing if not protean. Small wonder we have trouble responding rationally. It is "dangerous enough to have killed more than 1.6 million, but mild enough that most people shrug it off". An infected person may infect lots of other people or nobody. Your immune system may react so violently as to kill you, or generate no symptoms at all (3,220 words)

Covid Risk And Normal Risk

David Spiegelhalter | BMJ | 9th September 2020

The risks of suffering and dying from Covid "vary 10 000-fold depending on age" in the UK, making it difficult to issue general guidance about what constitutes high-risk behaviour. But, as a benchmark, March-June data show that "for those over 55 who are infected with Covid-19, the additional risk of dying is slightly more than the normal risk of death from all other causes over one year" (2,800 words)

Covid Improved How The World Does Science

Tyler Cowen | BloombergQuint | 11th January 2021

Urgency has dictated that Covid-related research is published quickly and debated openly, rather than emerging slowly, via peer review, in paid journals. We should build on this model by encouraging researchers to spend more time refereeing work published online, even at the expense of their writing less. Refereeing and original writing should both count towards tenure and promotion (600 words)

How Covid Brought The Future Back

Byrne Hobart | Works In Progress | 8th February 2021 | U

Plausible theory of why asset prices have boomed during the pandemic. Crises accelerate major technological breakthroughs — such as aviation in World War One, electronics in World War Two, biotech and remote working in the pandemic. Covid may be creating much while destroying little, at least in economic terms, giving rise to "a healthy bubble that’s betting on a better world" (2,300 words)

Lessons From A Covid Year

Yuval Noah Harari | Financial Times | 26th February 2021 | TU

Humanity possesses the knowledge and tools needed to shut this pandemic down and head off the next one. But political leaders have been slow and clumsy in using them. If Covid is not contained very quickly, or if a deadlier pandemic hits in 2030, these will be political failures, not natural disasters. One top priority is to secure digital infrastructure. We rely on the Internet now more than ever (3,430 words)

SARS-CoV-2 By The Numbers

Yinon M Bar-On et al | eLife | 31st March 2020

Complete coronavirus primer. A bit late for this pandemic — the owl of Minerva takes flight only at dusk — but cut out and keep for the next time round. “In this article we provide a one-stop, curated graphical source for the key numbers (based mostly on the peer-reviewed literature) about the SARS-CoV-2 virus that is responsible for the pandemic. The discussion is framed around two broad themes: The biology of the virus itself, and the characteristics of the infection of a single human host” (2,100 words)

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