When the COVID crisis hit in 2020, the federal government needed far more N95 masks and other protective equipment than it had — so it began awarding contracts to companies promising to provide them, often at a steep mark-up. J. David McSwane, a ProPublica reporter and author of the new book Pandemic, Inc: Chasing the Capitalists and Thieves Who Got Rich While We Got Sick, says a shocking number of those companies had no experience in providing medical equipment.
Meghan O'Rourke says long COVID and other chronic illnesses put an unwieldy burden on patients, who have to testify to the reality of their own illness. Her new book, The Invisible Kingdom, chronicles her personal struggle to find diagnoses for her own nerve pain, brain fog, extreme fatigue and other symptoms."When you're at the edge of medical knowledge, the lack of evidence is treated as evidence that the problem is you and your mind," O'Rourke says. "I felt, in a sense, kind of locked away in a room like a 19th-century hysteric."
The COVID-19 pandemic has left many American families without child care and in-person schooling. Those new household burdens have largely landed on the shoulders of women, says Journalist Claire Cain Miller. She has been working from home, reporting on how the pandemic has affected the lives of mothers, in a New York Times series called "The Primal Scream."
Less than three weeks into the new Biden administration, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert who has headed up the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, is encouraged by the new president's approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fauci has worked with seven presidents, from Ronald Reagan to Joe Biden. Much of his career has been devoted to researching viruses and the immune system.
Iconoclastic humorist Fran Lebowitz used to be known as a writer. Back in the late 1970s and '80s, she released two popular collections of essays featuring her cutting observations and opinions about life. But that part of her career was cut short by a decades-long case of writer's block — now she's known for talking. The Netflix series Pretend It's a City features Lebowitz in conversation with Martin Scorsese — who directed both the new series and the 2010 HBO documentary about Lebowitz, Public Speaking.
Science writer Ed Yong of The Atlantic says the coming months will usher in the most complicated immunization program the U.S. has ever attempted. Yong has been covering the pandemic since it began, writing about nearly every aspect.
The James Beard award-winning chef says his flagship restaurant, Red Rooster, became his "haven" during the height of pandemic. Working with José Andrés' World Central Kitchen organization, Samuelsson converted the restaurant to a community kitchen. Over the course of six months, Red Rooster served more than 200,000 meals to first responders and others in need. he talks about that and his new book.
In his new book, Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World, Zakaria looks ahead to the ways that COVID-19 might fundamentally change our relationships to work, technology and government. He says Americans in particular have some important decisions to make about the role of government in our lives.