Here’s something I want to share with you because I hope it may be of some use. When stressed, I like to get back to basics. That’s what helps me. And there’s just such a fog of information and disinformation and information that puts the emphasis on one thing and excluding other things and so on and so forth, that I believe there’s some value in just sitting down, taking a fucking moment, and getting your bearings.
Back to basics.
This video is, I think, a help with that. Dr. Alice hyun-kyung Tan often appears on Korean TV. She’s really great. Just clear and honest. She’s terrific. Back in April, she posted a lecture on how South Korea crushed the COVID curve. (This lecture was delivered as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Fulbright Scholars Lecture Series on April 22, 2020.)
Now, I know this is sort of old but, in this case, I think that’s actually kind of a good thing. Being current, getting right into the minute by minute wash of breaking news, can be really misleading. It can make it easy to confuse information and knowledge. It can make novelty seem more important than it is. The latest news is not always the most important news.
As this pandemic has worn on, there’s been a sort of impression given that we have learned so much more about this disease, how it is spread, and how to prevent it than we knew in April. There’s a sort of notion that this disease is always changing. In some cases, yes, we have learned important things. But, more often than not, the idea that we have learned shocking new things seems to be –at least, partially– a product of what Ed Yong has called America’s “serial monogamy of solutions.” If one thing is being touted as a silver bullet and that one thing fails to work, the emphasis switches elsewhere, to another silver bullet. It never ends. This makes aspects of the disease, which have been well known for a while, appear novel. It makes the thing appear much more slippery and weird than it is. And it’s already plenty slippery and weird!
Corona is a slippery and weird motherfucker!
So, although things have been learned since this lecture was posted, I think the age of this lecture shows the amount that we knew in April and shows how little has changed since then. The age itself might be grounding. It feels like a deep breath.
Anyways, I hope you spare the half hour and watch it and, if you do, that it kind of helps you get your bearings. It helped me. Anyway, here it is.