January 18, 2021

MLK Day

It didn’t have to be this way. Sometime in the next day, the US will pass 400,000 deaths. Within the next week, we will pass the total number of US dead from World War II. Within a month, we are projected to hit 500,000 deaths. Rapid roll out of the vaccine will help decrease the number of deaths, but more mask wearing would make a bigger difference. Why does that seem impossible?

The New York Times has an excellent deep dive into how this happened. It is easy to point fingers but important to learn from our mistakes. It was wasn’t just the US, failures occurred worldwide.

A big contributor here was disinformation, a problem worldwide, increasing people’s vulnerability. Social media leads people to disinformation. Biases also increase susceptibility. Add in Anti-vaxxers and you have a potent mix for the insurgency last week.

There is some hope. Data shows a steep drop off in “misinformation” last week after Trump was banned from Twitter.

These thoughts are bitter tonight, but I do feel more hope as we turn a new corner with a new president and vice-president, who have a plan (!) for the vaccine and how to fight COVID-19. We must now begin the task of healing and growing as a nation for all of its citizens. Fitting for the day we honor Martin Luther King Jr. who is rightly celebrated. We must remember that his method of non-violence was so effective, and terrifying to the establishment, because the non-violence moved minds and opinions in ways that are opposite the results of violence. The Seattle Times has this beautiful tribute for him.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, follow the arc of justice.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/17/us/covid-deaths-2020.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6l

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/18/briefing/donald-trump-pardon-phil-spector-coronavirus-deaths.html

https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/01/18/world/covid-19-coronavirus?type=styln-live-updates&label=coronavirus&index=0&action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage#officials-worldwide-failed-in-the-early-pandemic-response-a-who-panel-says

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

https://covid19.healthdata.org/united-states-of-america?view=total-deaths&tab=trend

http://projects.seattletimes.com/mlk/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2020/10/23/fell-terrifying-conspiracy-theory-wormhole-youtube/

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/cafe/anti-vaxxers-failed-coup-disinformation-striking-back

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/biases-make-people-vulnerable-to-misinformation-spread-by-social-media/

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/misinformation-dropped-dramatically-the-week-after-twitter-banned-trump/