Unprecedented! If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that we are living in unprecedented times. And it’s all because of the pandemic. As a historian, I tend to be skeptical of that description. I would argue that we have had it all before: widespread disease, bitter political conflict, economic uncertainty, you name it. But
This week the State Department posted over 115 new level-4 travel advisories this week due to risks from COVID-19. If you had thought about going to France or Germany last week, the State Department would have told you these countries were at Level 3: Reconsider Travel. Today, the same countries are rated Level 4: Do Not Travel. In other words, don’t even think about it. Except for one country: Bhutan.
Overheard today: “During the pandemic, we used to . . . ” It’s so natural right now, right here, in southern California, to feel like it’s over. Vaccines are being given, restaurants are opening up, cases and hospitalizations are down. Our governor says the economy is posed to “come roaring back.” I earnestly hope so.
Last year we knew so little about this virus. Now we are seeing the results of a full year of research along with six months of vaccine experience. I’ve sorted the major stories into three categories: Openings, research, and regulations.
The first time I encountered the phrase “impending doom” was in the section on acute hemolytic transfusion reactions in a medical technology manual. It read like this: “Ominously, the patient may report a feeling of ‘impending doom.’ ” Such an emotional-sounding phrase seemed out of place alongside physical symptoms