Samuel J. Levine.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cast the United States, along with the rest of the world, into a time of crisis and uncertainty unlike any other in recent memory. Months into the pandemic, there is scant agreement among scientists, government officials, and large segments of the public, both domestic and abroad, as to determining the causes and workings of the virus, designing appropriate and effective responses to the outbreak, and constructing accurate assessments of the future—or even of the present. Indeed, the availability of concrete information about the virus and its effects is grossly inadequate and often replaced by anecdotal or impressionistic depictions, not infrequently accompanied by rumor and speculation. Perhaps
at some point in the future, with the benefit of the passage of time and access to reliable data, we will better understand important elements of the pandemic. Amidst the current state of knowledge, however, any attempt to learn lessons from the events of the past few months remains a tenuous—if not altogether dubious—enterprise.