Entries by Martha Nelson

Mutants on the Rise

TL;DR: New variants cropping up globally are headed to America and threaten to overwhelm hospitals. Our highly potent vaccines still protect pretty well against new strains, but we are not rolling out vaccine fast enough to prevent new epidemic spikes. November’s announcement of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines brought a refreshing break in the otherwise bleak […]

Can Americans Win at Game Theory?

From childhood, I was determined not to become an economist. My father was an economics professor. So was his father, sister, and brother-in-law. I don’t know what other families talk about at the dinner table. My family talked about airline deregulation. My father was conservative, his relatives were liberal, and the same circular arguments about […]

COVID and Schools: Will It Work?

Low COVID infection rates of children combined with other countries reopening schools have made US officials bullish about sending kids back to the classroom this fall. But the question Should schools open? may not be as important as Will they stay open? Recurring outbreaks in a school district could mean a return to online learning […]

An Interview with a Coronavirus

A coronavirus kindly spared a few minutes to tell me about the pandemic from its own perspective. Me: Thank you so much for taking the time. America has a lot of questions for you. First, is coronavirus the way you prefer to be called? Coronavirus: COVID is fine. Me: Can you tell us a little […]

Will America Take the COVID Vaccine?

As scientists race to develop a COVID vaccine at record pace, it’s worth noting that half the country isn’t planning to take it. Or at least isn’t sure if they’ll take it. Millions of Americans opting out of a COVID vaccine would be catastrophic for public health and economic recovery. So it’s worth understanding why […]

COVID: Not the Great Equalizer

Futbol! As a possible sign that the apocalypse is not coming quite yet, Premier League soccer began in the UK last week. US star Christian Pulisic came off the bench to score for Chelsea. While wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt. Was this my reward for all those months of quarantine? But as we celebrate […]

The Marmot’s Guide to Life in COVID

In my last post I mentioned that people shouldn’t assess COVID risk solely based on the presence or absence of masks. But I didn’t clarify what criteria should be used instead. This is the order in which I generally evaluate COVID risk associated with a particular activity. This list is different from the more popular […]

A Reluctant Message About Masks

You may have noticed that I didn’t say a word about masks in my recent blog post. Because by this point people are already either on Team Mask or Team Naked Face and no one is switching teams. To Team Mask, masks have become an indicator of whether someone is informed/socially responsible or ignorant/narcissist. To […]