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Argument of the Day
The pandemic didn’t break America. It was already broken, George Packer argues, and the virus simply exploited its weaknesses.
“Every morning in the endless month of March, Americans woke up to find themselves citizens of a failed state,” he writes in this special preview from our June 2020 issue.
Americans must now ask themselves hard questions, including “Are we still capable of self-government?” Read his argument in full.
Additional reading: George previously warned that American institutions were in a state of decay, thanks to the Trump administration, in this magazine cover story.
Today’s outbreak reading guide
One question, answered: Why are America’s COVID-19 numbers flat?
One possible answer: “There is clearly some group of Americans who have the coronavirus but who don’t show up in official figures,” Alexis C. Madrigal and Robinson Meyer, who launched a project tracking state-by-state testing progress, write.
One statistic highlights the extent of the cases that the U.S. could be missing. Alexis and Rob evaluated a metric called the test-positivity rate, which estimates how many people who are tested for the virus are found to have it. In the U.S., that rate is 20 percent. That’s very high—and implies that doctors are testing only those patients with a very high likelihood of having the virus.