Is It Possible to Beat a Virus That Moves Faster Than Science?

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Thanks to all of whom wrote last month to confirm that, indeed, only journalists care about what happens to Twitter. As Elon Musk’s weird dance between buying the company and forgetting about it continues, it’s a healthy reminder that we don’t get too obsessed, even though he may now have access to the full heat of the data. Twitter users, I could worry about what he will do with it. Here is the update.

We Fes Knowing how to beat a pandemic: some of us, anyway

It’s Pride Month in the United States, which is why I’m proud, as the first editor-in-chief of WIRED, to present Maryn McKenna’s new story about an event that highlighted the resilience of the LGBTQ community: the Covid-19 outbreak. last July in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

You may remember it (if you remember anything from a year ago in a time of pandemic) as the time when you learned the phrase “advanced infection.” Tens of thousands of people, mostly gay men, flooded the streets and filled nightclubs over the weekend of July 4, and although most were vaccinated, Covid ravaged the city and ended up infecting some 1,100. people.

At the time, the outbreak seemed like a warning story, and there were subtle echoes of the stigma of gay men over HIV / AIDS. But as Maryn’s reports show, it’s now clear that it was actually a success story. The Provincetown wave could have caused hundreds of thousands of additional cases. Instead, it disappeared. Although Delta devastated the United States that summer, genetic analysis showed that almost none of the infections were descended from Provincetown. Officials were able to follow up and contain the outbreak thanks to two things: Massachusetts’ unusually good medical and public health research infrastructure, and the gay community’s hard-to-learn habits of being transparent about infectious diseases. As Maryn, a Centers for Disease Control specialist, put it, “It was amazing. Other people at CDC will tell you, it was different from any other group they’ve dealt with in terms of getting information.”

Still, here’s the thing: As hopeful as a Provincetown story is, in any case, it only underscores how difficult it is to control Covid without these unusual circumstances. In fact, as we’ve been reporting, the U.S.’s ability to track and prevent future virus waves is declining, not improving, as funding shrinks and test data becomes more erratic. In the ongoing evolutionary war between humans and SARS-CoV-2, the virus is gaining ground, at least in the sense that it has begun to evolve much faster than we can maintain. We have practically accepted the coexistence with him and we have accepted that we will continue to take him. It is true that the disease has not become more deadly with successive Omicron subvariants, but there is still no guarantee that the trend will continue. As our strategies for living with this disease evolve alongside the virus, what public health measures, if any, do you want to maintain? What lessons do you care that the United States and the world are not learning? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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