You might have missed it, buried deep on page D-4 as it was, but The New York Times just ran a piece sharing optimism on COVID-19.
We’ve noted much of the good news shared by science reporter Donald G. McNeil from time to time, but it’s impressive when added up — albeit with the Times-obligatory slaps at the Trump administration. Among his points:
- The American public has made an incredible adjustment, embracing mask-wearing and social distancing and putting up with unprecedented months-long lockdowns. That, he notes, “has made a huge difference in lives saved.”
- New treatments are further denting the virus’ impact, including “the antiviral drug remdesivir and steroids like dexamethasone.” Still ahead, “vaccines and monoclonal antibodies . . . are likely to be far more effective.”
- Older Americans are increasingly shielded from exposure, as new cases skew more to young people, who are far more likely to survive. And nursing homes are now doing a far better job, with far lower death rates than in the past.
- In all, “the United States is faring much better than it did during the Spanish influenza,” as the COVID pandemic is on track to end far sooner, and with a far lower per-capita death toll.
- But the success of Team Trump’s $11 billion “Operation Warp Speed” to develop vaccines is some of the best news. New vaccines historically take years, but the Food and Drug Administration is likely to OK at least two effective vaccines within the next three months — with factories already primed to produce “enough doses for all 330 million Americans to be vaccinated by next June.”
- Jobs? “Many economists think our national recovery will be rapid, like those that followed the first and second world wars, rather than what followed the financial crashes of 1929 and 2008.”
With most of the Times dedicated to pushing the line that the Trump administration has utterly botched the pandemic, it’s good to see that at least the paper’s science section is willing to acknowledge some important truths to the contrary.