Outside Reading — Lessons Worth Learning edition

nytime brooklyn hospital

‘We’re in Disaster Mode’: Courage Inside a Brooklyn Hospital Confronting Coronavirus by Sheri Fink

One of the frustrations I’ve felt over the coverage of the current health crisis steams from my perception that there hasn’t been enough attention paid to the harrowing conditions that will arise in hospitals if we don’t collectively work to flatten the curve. It’s generally left as an abstract concept for the general public, a soft theory that it would be generally better for health care professionals if we didn’t hit them with too many cases all at once. That contributes to the small, vocal subset of awful people who decry the pandemic as a hoax. Weeks ago, there was available footage from Italian hospitals that could have presented a stark example of the repercussions if we didn’t work quickly enough. We didn’t work quickly or seriously enough, and now we have examples that are closer to home. The New York Times gives the story to Sheri Fink, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her reporting from a New Orleans hospital in the immediate aftermath of Hurrican Katrina (reporting which she expanded into a weighty, award-winning book). Telling this story is monumentally important. These health care professionals are truly heroic.



The Coronavirus Pandemic Demonstrates the Failures of Capitalism by Kandist Mallett

Day-to-day existence has shifted in a multitude of ways in response to COVID-19. And it’s increasingly remarkable how many of those shifts expose wholly solvable problems deeply embedded into our wounded society. All the assurances that we will collectively return to normal at some point are misguided. We should emerge from this with a collective commitment to do better, to move towards a system where tapping the brakes on our way of life doesn’t threaten to collapse everything. Writing for Teen Vogue, Kandist Mallett goes straight at the issue. When we get through this, let’s take advantage of the scorched earth to grow a greener, better forest.


And from the Outside Viewing department, this story appeared on CBS Saturday Morning today. I think it’s meant to be a heartwarming piece, largely unchallenging to the status quo. But embedded in this story is a condemnation of how most of the prison industrial complex works, ultimately uninterested in rehabilitation and generally seeing incarcerated individuals as human beings. There is a better way.

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