The Atlantic Daily: There's No Easy Way Out

Antibody tests aren’t the “game changer” many hoped they’d be. Plus: Feeling sore from your new socially distant work setup? You’re not alone.

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No, America hasn’t quietly reached herd immunity.

That’s the takeaway from the earliest serosurveys—studies that use antibody testing to check for immunity in the population. Many people hoped that such testing would be a “game changer,” revealing a widespread immunity to the coronavirus.

So far, it’s not. The numbers just aren’t there, my colleague Sarah Zhang reports: Two controversial early studies in California detected antibodies in less than 5 percent of the population. In New York City, that percentage was higher—almost a quarter of the population—but still a far cry from the 70 percent scientists believe is necessary for true herd immunity.

It’s time to stop waiting for an easy way out, our contributing writer Yascha Mounk argues: “Our hopes for the pandemic’s quick resolution should clearly be shelved.”


One question, answered: Why won’t my neck stop hurting?

If you’re working from home on your laptop, chances are you’re using furniture that wasn’t built for the task. Our health writer Olga Khazan offers some advice:

When you work on a laptop at a table, your entire body, neck to knees, is out of alignment. I could say this in a more scientific way, but your thoracic discs are already telling you everything you need to know.

I ruefully remember the day that, as a young blogger of 24, my entire right arm went numb. Many sessions of physical therapy revealed what I probably already suspected: My working setup sucked.

Fast-forward 10 years, and I’ve learned my lesson. First: Make it so the screen is roughly even with your eyes. I bought a cheap laptop riser from Amazon; you can also use a monitor, or just a stack of books or a box. I put a Bluetooth keyboard underneath the riser. To the right, I have a mouse, to keep my hand from going numb from constantly reaching for the laptop’s touch pad.

I also have a nice Steelcase office chair at home—a book-deal gift from my boyfriend. But previously I just used a combo of cheap lumbar supports and seat wedges, also from Amazon (for a total of about $40), and that solution was frankly 80 percent as good.

Cheaper than physical therapy, and your torso will thank you.

What to read if … you just want practical advice:

View all of our stories related to the coronavirus outbreak here. Let us know if you have specific questions about the virus—or if you have a personal experience you’d like to share with us.

We’re looking to talk with individuals who are applying for unemployment insurance due to the pandemic. To share your experience, please write to us with your name, location, and relevant job details.


Today’s Movie-Club Pick

Tonight’s film: Something’s Gotta Give (2003)

All week, we’re exploring the multi-decade career of Keanu Reeves, by revisiting five essential films. The third pick in our series is the rom-com Something’s Gotta Give. Here’s our critic David Sims:

In 1991, Kathryn Bigelow identified Reeves as a potential action star, a major shift from the kinds of roles he’d been playing up until then. In 2003, another great female filmmaker, Nancy Meyers, made the similarly bold decision to position him as a romantic foil, something he had struggled with in past movies such as Much Ado About Nothing and Sweet November. But Reeves’s Zen-like persona proved a perfect fit for Meyers’s zippy dialogue—he’s uniquely charming as a doctor who pursues the writer Erica Barry (Diane Keaton), despite her being almost 20 years his senior. Even though Reeves’s character does not end up with Erica, who is eventually drawn to the lothario Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson), Reeves is compelling enough that her ultimate choice is still fiercely debated.

Participate in the discussion using the Twitter hashtag #AtlanticMovieClub or by replying to this email with your thoughts. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the next pick.

This email was written by Caroline Mimbs Nyce, with help from Isabel Fattal, and edited by Michael Owen.

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