If you want to understand how The U. S. got to where it is then this New Yorker piece is essential reading. It’s long but it’s good.
The New Yorker Editors write: Dear Readers,
In April, Lawrence Wright published a shockingly prescient novel about a global pandemic sparked by a mysterious virus that originated in Asia. As his fictional world hewed ever closer to reality, and it became clear that the covid–19 outbreak was hardly the fleeting episode that President Trump insisted it would be, The New Yorker asked Wright to spend the better part of the year reporting this narrative.
Remarkably, the very scientist who had helped Wright invent a fictional pathogen and vaccine for his novel—Dr. Barney S. Graham, of the National Institutes of Health—ended up becoming the chief architect of the first two vaccines to be authorized for emergency use in the United States. In addition to Graham, Wright also interviewed epidemiologists, researchers, public-health experts, frontline medical responders, and key individuals across federal and local governments. The result is a work of sweeping reporting that takes readers inside laboratories, hospital rooms, and the White House for an astonishing and comprehensive examination of the science, the politics, and the human tragedy of the pandemic.
This week, we have devoted nearly the entire issue—something we’ve done on only a handful of occasions in The New Yorker’s history—to Wright’s exploration of the past year and what went so wrong with America’s response to the coronavirus. His narrative of the pandemic is filled with insights about vaccinology and White House intrigue, but among the most powerful segments of the piece are his portraits of ordinary Americans, such as Dr. Ebony Hilton, a Black anesthesiologist in Virginia, who knew from the start that the pandemic would lay bare our society’s deepest inequities. The pandemic may be the biggest story of our lifetime, but Wright, as always, has woven his tapestry from the smallest threads.
A Reporter at Large
January 4 & 11, 2021 Issue
The Plague Year The mistakes and the struggles behind America’s coronavirus tragedy.
By Lawrence Wright
December 28, 2020