Six Months of Pandemic, and We’re Still Struggling

Six Months of Pandemic, and We’re Still Struggling


Students at the University of South Carolina, which is dealing with a surge of coronavirus cases.

Photographer: Sean Rayford/Getty Images North America

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Today’s Agenda

Plus ça Change, Plus C’est la Même Coronavirus

About six months ago, back in early March, I started working from home, my kids started learning from home, a pandemic was raging and health-care workers lacked adequate equipment. Today, in early September … I am still working from home, my kids are still learning from home, a pandemic is still raging and health-care workers still lack adequate equipment.

Some things have changed, of course. At least 190,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. And now we know, thanks to an interview he taped with Bob Woodward six months ago, that President Donald Trump purposefully downplayed the coronavirus at the time. Still, despite having half a journey around the Sun to adjust to this nightmare, we haven’t quite figured it out. Colleges have invited kids back en masse, but many haven’t managed to do so safely, notes Max Nisen. Case counts are rising, as even institutions with solid plans haven’t cracked the timeless riddle of how to keep college kids from keggers.

Knowledge is Power

Meanwhile, the N95 mask shortage we suffered in March isn’t much better in September, writes Joe Nocera. For some reason, Trump’s government hasn’t done what it takes to ramp up production and imports of this protective gear, so health-care workers are still putting themselves at risk by reusing old masks.

Drugmakers have at least spent these months well, taking big strides toward vaccines. They seemed to hit an impasse yesterday, when AstraZeneca halted late-stage trials of its candidate over health concerns. But those worries seem limited so far, and the temporary freeze suggests everybody’s being appropriately careful, writes Max Nisen. It’s how we should proceed if we want to make a safe, effective vaccine for wide distribution, which may be our best hope for not still living like this in March 2021.

Further Quest for Normalcy Reading: Weirdly, a vaccine could briefly shut down hiring while businesses and schools wait for new employees and kids to get vaccinated. — Karl Smith

Buffett’s New Tricks

Everybody loves those “40 Under 40” or “30 Under 30” lists, I am told. But it’s often just as interesting to see what people manage to accomplish beyond the wizened age of 41. Warren Buffett just turned 90, for example, and for only the second time in his storied career, he is investing in an IPO. And it’s a technology company, Snowflake, which refers not to overly sensitive youngsters but to cloud computing. None of this has ever been Buffett’s typical investment fare, write Tae Kim and Tara Lachapelle. But Buffett has the lingering pain of missing out on much of the Big Tech boom and a large pile of money to burn. It’s never too late to change.

Brexit Turns Ugly

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