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For many of us, this past year was filled with many frantic hours spent trying to understand an evolving crisis. We were, as our contributing writer Tom Nichols puts it, like “fish darting about in a tank that’s been sprinkled with food.” The instinct to forage for information can be dizzying—and not always useful, Tom argues.
Today, our writers make sense of some of the thorniest issues of the ongoing pandemic.
- The experts had a rough year. We still have to trust them. “When the pandemic recedes—and after we have reflected on all of this death and heartbreak—we’ll need to recover some perspective and learn once again when to put aside gut instincts and listen to the people who know what they’re doing,” Tom writes.
- Liberals and conservatives latched on to opposing narratives about Florida’s pandemic response. What if both were wrong? Headlines alternately claim that Florida “is an economic heaven and a pandemic hell,” Derek Thompson writes. “If the numbers can tell us anything at this point, it’s that Florida is neither.”
- Don’t panic about reports of vaccinated people who have gotten infected. “Breakthrough infections, which occur when fully vaccinated people are infected by the pathogen that their shots were designed to protect against, are an entirely expected part of any vaccination process,” Katherine J. Wu explains.
- America is now in the hands of the vaccine-hesitant. “If vaccine acceptance tops out where it is right now, at less than two-thirds of American adults, then the pathway out of this pandemic could stretch and twist into the future,” our science editor Daniel Engber warns.