Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: 2019-2020 Coronavirus Pandemic

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COVID-19 risks: Know them, avoid them

Erin S. Bromage, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has published an informative primer on which environments the novel coronavirus is most easily transmitted in, which also discusses how people can minimize getting sick. (Top tip: Don’t go to church!)


Anyone can file a lawsuit, and anyone has.

— Governor Jay Inslee, responding to a reporter’s question about a series of ill-conceived lawsuits filed by radical right wing Republicans Clint Didier, Tim Eyman, and others, all aimed at quashing the governor’s stay home, stay healthy orders.


1918 pandemic + COVID-19 reading list: Three books that are worth your time

Want to better understand the times we are living in? Here’s a collection of pandemic literature that is credible, trustworthy, and fascinating.

  1. The Coming Plague: First published in 1994 in hardcover by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance was a New York Times bestseller in 1994-5. Laurie Garrett researched and wrote The Coming Plague for ten years, starting in the mid-1980s when the very premise of the effort was highly controversial.
  2. The Great Influenza: Magisterial in its breadth of perspective and depth of research, John Barry’s The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History (2004) provides us with a precise and sobering model as we confront the epidemics looming on our own horizon.
  3. Pale Rider: In this gripping narrative history, Laura Spinney traces the overlooked pandemic to reveal how the virus travelled across the globe, exposing mankind’s vulnerability and putting our ingenuity to the test. As socially significant as both world wars, the 1918 flu dramatically disrupted — and often permanently altered — global politics, race relations and family structures, while spurring innovation in medicine, religion and the arts.

NPI’s Literary Advocate David Johnson reviewed Pale Rider the same year that it came out; you can read his favorable review at the Cascadia Advocate.

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Coronavirus order saves $1 billion from fewer car crashes

Via The Los Angeles Times: “California’s stay-at-home order reduced vehicle collisions on roadways by a little more than half, saving taxpayers an estimated $1 billion since the order went into effect, according to a UC Davis survey that estimated the impact of the order on traffic.”

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Carnival executives knew they had a virus problem, but kept the party going

“More than 1,500 people on the company’s cruise ships have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and dozens have died,” a report from Bloomberg says. How did this happen? Austin Carr and Chris Palmeri explain.


A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality.

— Ed Yong: How the coronavirus pandemic will end