Entries by Martha Nelson

Why We Will Never Know the Real Origins of SARS-CoV-2

COVID-19 slashed red tape and poured in government funding to spark giant leaps forward in scientific innovation, most prominently in vaccinology but also behind-the-scenes in genetic sequencing to track a fast-evolving virus generating new variants. These developments set the stage for promising new strategies for a range of infectious disease threats, from malaria to influenza. […]

Final Interview With A Coronavirus

Me: Thank you so much for joining me again. How the tables have turned. How does it feel to be in retreat? CoV: I beg your pardon? Me: Now that we have a 95% effective vaccine everything is going back to normal. CoV: Have you glanced at the global numbers? Me: Look, I’m trying to […]

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 […]