Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.
As if a deadly pandemic, one that’s claimed more than half a million lives in the U.S. as of today, wasn’t enough, Texans continue to face dangerous conditions brought on by a mix of snow and political neglect.
The state’s power grid, once pitched as an emblem of self-reliance and the free market, collapsed in the face of emergency. Now it’s come to symbolize something much darker.
This is what happens when politicians fixate on the culture war instead of governing. Adam Serwer writes from San Antonio: “The elevation of this symbolic politics over competence has had a devastating effect on actual governance in Texas.”
Texas failed big in three different ways. It was “a lack of planning, a reliance on just-in-time logistics, and a self-defeating trust in the profit motive,” Robinson Meyer reports.
One question, answered: Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, said it could soon be “open season” on vaccines. What will that look like?
Our staff writer James Hamblin, who previewed what could be a very normal summer in the U.S., shares his thoughts:
When Fauci says “open season,” he appears to mean the period when vaccines are available across the U.S. for everyone who wants one. He says this moment could arrive as soon as May or June. It will take some time after that to actually get the shots into everyone’s arms. Hopefully vaccination will be as simple as possible—offered at all hours, on weekends, at drive-up stations, etc.—to eliminate any possible logistical reason a person might have for delaying or forgoing it. The specifics will vary from state to state—there won’t be a single day where officials raise a flag that says “open season.” It will be gradual and feel more like the arrival of spring itself.
Tonight’s Atlantic-approved isolation activity:
Consider giving something up voluntarily. “The happiness benefits of sacrifice are backed up by plenty of social science,” our happiness columnist Arthur C. Brooks writes.
Today’s break from the news:
“There are many points at which one’s understanding of reality could conceivably start to slip while watching a stranger on the internet construct a pie out of Spaghetti-Os.”