Coronavirus Briefing: Remdesivir makes it official, predictions for winter abound, “sober curiosity” falls

This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,112 words and will take you six minutes to read.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

This week in sentences that, had they been uttered in January might have prompted loved ones to inquire about the speaker’s mental wellness: I went to a restaurant and didn’t feel vulnerable, scared or otherwise besieged. It happened at a newly outdoor restaurant on Long Island, on what might have felt like a typical summer night had our faces not been masked and our hands sticky with Purell.

The key to deriving pleasure from such COVID-era engagements, I think, is to avoid doting on the circumstances. We sat down, ordered, drank, ate, paid and lingered, just as we might have before the world imploded. I had the chicken parm.

And yet. One guy strode past us mask-free. The conversation at an adjacent table detailed (and broadly, almost hilariously misinterpreted) recent studies about COVID infection in young children. You can’t block it out, man.

I look forward to the day when such encounters return to the realm of banality. May I propose “boring” as a potential complement?

This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,112 words and will take you six minutes to read. 


The path ahead

Sometimes it’s hard to see, especially with case numbers flat at best and social media perpetually melting down over the fates of American democracy, the polar ice caps and college football. But we’ve learned a lot during these last five-plus months. Slowly but surely, we’re translating that knowledge into action.

  • On this week’s MM&M Podcast, SK Life Science VP and chief commercial officer Sebby Borriello discusses the challenges that came with launching Xcopri, a new epilepsy medication, during the pandemic.

The takeaway

I’m choosing to feel encouraged about much of this and remain bullish that we’ll come out of this thing slightly smarter than we were at its outset.


The churn

Which isn’t to say that disease and shutdown and the like aren’t chewing us up. The smaller losses and indignities may not sting as much as the bigger ones, but they leave a mark. And the bigger ones crush the spirit.

  • People Management’s Francis Churchill reports on a Rest Less study that nearly 200,000 people in the U.K. over the age of 50 have either left the workforce or become “economically inactive” since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Elsewhere in People Management, Elizabeth Howlett analyzes Office for National Statistics jobs data noting that 730,000 fewer people were on U.K. payrolls in July than in March.

The takeaway

Remember when the late local news used to lead with “cat locks self in refrigerator”? When social-media feeds teemed with complaints about the next Spider-Man reboot?


The crystal ball

While I’m crazed for more information on school openings/closings and the return of live music and roughly 67,000 other things of varying import, I’ve given up on attempting to gaze more than 45 minutes into the future. As it turns out, coronaviruses tend to operate on their own timeline. The utter lack of predictability that comes with circa-2020 existence is an enormous and perhaps underacknowledged contributor to our frazzled mental health.

  • The Union of Concerned Scientists surveyed 16 coastal counties with growing COVID-19 case counts that are likely to be affected by a Category 5 hurricane. Nowhere in its findings: reassurance that those counties are ready to evacuate safely and efficiently should the worst-case scenario come to pass. Shocking, I know.

  • At least STAT has some uplifting news to share. Wait, check that – they’re reporting that, should we not get our act together by indoor-weather season, “This winter could be Dickensianly bleak.”

The takeaway

Yeah. It’s time to proactively disengage with predictions that don’t involve point spreads or cloud cover.


The rest

  • A New Yorker staff writer attempts to figure out how she was infected with the coronavirus. Contact tracing: not easy.


…and some songs.

Thanks for reading this week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing. We’ll be back with the next one on Wednesday August 19. Stay safe, well, masked and six feet away, everybody.


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