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SHUTTERSTOCK; PAUL SPELLA / THE ATLANTIC

1. There is no mystery in the number of Americans dying of COVID-19.

This summer surge in deaths was entirely predictable by looking honestly at the case and hospitalization data that preceded it, Alexis C. Madrigal explains.

2. America needs to prepare for a double pandemic.

This is what keeps our Science reporter Ed Yong up at night. “If America could underperform so badly against one rapidly spreading virus,” he asks, “how would it fare against two?”

3. We talked to Anthony Fauci. He called efforts by the White House to discredit him “bizarre.”

But no, he hasn’t thought about resigning. “I just want to do my job,” he told our reporters. “I’m really good at it.”

4. The pandemic will force some to face their cognitive dissonance.

“When the facts clash with their preexisting convictions, some people would sooner jeopardize their health and everyone else’s than accept new information or admit to being wrong,” two social psychologists write.

JULIAN MONTAGUE

One question, answered: Should I fly?, asks an anonymous reader who is hoping to catch a flight from Las Vegas to Baltimore.

James Hamblin reviews the reader’s safety plan in his latest “Paging Dr. Hamblin” column. “I think you should feel confident about getting on that plane,” he writes.

The measures you’re taking should keep you safe. But more than anything else, the thoughtfulness you show in the planning here suggests you’ll do everything vigilantly.

Read the reader’s letter—and Jim’s full response. Every Wednesday, we take questions from readers about health-related curiosities, concerns, and obsessions. Have one? Email Jim at paging.dr.hamblin@theatlantic.com.

What to read if … you want practical tips:

What to read if … you’d like a break from the news:

When a Tumblr user loves a celebrity very much, a fake baby is born. Our staff writer Kaitlyn Tiffany digs through the history and culture of the modern celebrity-pregnancy hoax.

What to read if … actually, you don’t feel like reading much at all:

Let your eyes soar with this collection of spectacular bird photography.


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