Coronavirus Briefing: Abbott’s 15-minute test, HHS to hire comms help, “mask up and shut up”

This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,384 words and will take you six minutes to read.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Some people lost their sense of security during shutdown. Others lost the will to shower, or wear shirts with buttons. Me, I lost the ability to interpret social cues. No longer, it seems, can I take a hint.

At a gathering last week, I was 26 minutes into a Van Halen-versus-Pink Floyd debate (Van Halen, duh) before I noticed one of the participants had nodded off. The weekend before, it dawned on me that guests were heading to the kitchen or bathroom and not returning… about an hour after the room had emptied to just a few hardy souls.

And you know what? I don’t care. I’m beyond giddy to occasionally be back in the presence of people to whom I’m not related. There’s music and food and beer. I hope the novelty remains long after we’ve returned to quote-unquote normal. And I look forward to ignoring yawns and “gosh, I have an early call tomorrow” for years to come.

This week’s Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing is 1,384 words and will take you six minutes to read.


The climb

We’re in deep and most days there doesn’t seem anywhere to go but up. But in August, the case numbers stabilized following the June/July wave-one-extended-version surge. Science and a smattering of state officials are on the case.

The Takeaway:

To torture another metaphor, it feels like we’re digging our way out one shovelful at a time. Here’s hoping somebody locates the pandemic equivalent of a hydraulic excavator.

The heartbreak

At this point it has become a game I play with myself: Which piece of today’s COVID-related news will floor me? I’m not crying; the room is dusty and I’m allergic to everything in it and also I just got tear-gassed.

The Takeaway:

Here’s hoping your heartbreaks are modest ones, even if they leave a mark. It beats the alternative.

The messaging machinery

There are any number of audiences for stories that go “under the hood” of media machinations – journalists, publishers, sometimes even student journalists and student publishers. But in this climate, the inside-baseball snobbery has been tempered by a pronounced weariness, akin to “Can you believe this crap?” I find myself wanting to buy full-timers on the coronabeat a bowl of warm soup and tell them that it’s all gonna turn out okay.

The Takeaway:

Much respect for those doing the heavy lifting.

The aftermath

It’s at least eight months premature to discuss anything tangentially related to the post-COVID landscape. But frankly, I can’t help myself. I want to know what the world will look like next summer. Then I want to book a cheap beach rental before anyone’s the wiser.

The Takeaway:

The future pivots every few hours. I’ll confine my predictions to ones like “the next President will have five letters in his last name.”

The rest

…and some songs.

Thanks for reading, as always, and a happy slam-the-door-on-summer long weekend to you and yours. I regret that we did not get to see each other wearing seasonally appropriate white pants, but there’s always next year. Look for the next Haymarket Media Coronavirus Briefing on Wednesday, September 9.

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