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This article was published on December 8, 2020

COVID-19 newsletters are sooooo 2020

COVID-19 newsletters are sooooo 2020
Tristan Greene
Story by

Tristan Greene

Editor, Neural by TNW

Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: Tristan is a futurist covering human-centric artificial intelligence advances, quantum computing, STEM, physics, and space stuff. Pronouns: He/him

Coronavirus in Context is a weekly newsletter where we bring you facts that matter about the COVID-19 pandemic and the technology trying to stop its spread. You can subscribe here.

Hola pandemic pals,

I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. I’ve also got some great news (I’ll get to that later) and then I’ve got the regular news (which, as usual, is mostly horrible).

The good news: 2020 is coming to an end. The bad news: It’s taking Coronavirus in Context with it.

We’re sunsetting this newsletter because it’s run its course.

The pandemic still rages around us. And, yes, there are several amazing vaccines on the way. There really is a lot going on and a lot more to be said about COVID-19. But this newsletter was always meant to be temporary.

We’ll publish our final edition on Tuesday, December 22.

This newsletter means a lot to me. I was given complete creative freedom with it and, because of that, it’s been the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve done as a journalist.

But it’s the readers who shaped it. Your feedback, responses, and willingness to participate in the discourse is what defined my coverage.

Together we explored COVID-19 through the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, the queer struggle, and as global citizens who want the best for our communities.

We’ve discussed the technology, science, medicine, and politics of the pandemic and we’ve even gotten personal. It’s been a wonderful journey, but I’m glad it’s over.

Because it’s time to take all this perspective we’ve gained, the “context” we’ve found, if you will, and use it to move forward. We know what we need to do to get the pandemic under control. It’s time to mask up and sort out the future.

And here comes the great news:

For me and Neural, the AI section I edit here at TNW, that means a brand-new artificial intelligence newsletter in 2021! Details coming soon.

By the numbers

Totals as of 12/8
Source: Worldometers
  • USA: Cases: 15,446,428 Deaths: 291,802
  • India: Cases: 9,735,975 Deaths: 141,398
  • Brazil: Cases: 6,630,949 Deaths: 177,400

Tweet of the Week

I actually reached out to Oakland Abolition and Solidarity to get some clarity on this tweet. Turns out the LA Times had mistakenly printed the wrong info and they rectified the mistake to reflect the actual numbers.

The group also let me know what life is like for the incarcerated during the pandemic:

It’s hard to relate how horrific this pandemic has been for incarcerated people, not to mention their families and supporters like us on the outside. Infection rates inside overall are 7x that of the state. One out 200 infected is dying.

It has been 8 months of struggle and horror, mostly because of the state and its utter disregard for incarcerated people as human beings. The virus is one crisis….. the carceral state and its mandate of dehumanization and abandonment is another.

Go here to find out more.

What to read

90 year old UK lady gets vaxxy with it, Trump swiped left on Pfizer, and FDNY is full of anti-vaxxers…
? She’s the first person to receive a fully-tested and approved vaccine for COVID-19 and she’ll be 91 soon. (CNET)
? National Geographic released its annual “Year in Pictures” feature and it is amazing, saddening, wonderful, great, and poignant. This is 2020: (National Geographic)
? Frontline healthcare workers aren’t being tested for COVID-19?!?! (NPR)
? LA’s healthcare system is collapsing under the weight of a record number of COVID-19 cases. (Deadline)
? A Florida scientist blew the whistle on a government attempt to lie about COVID-19. Then cops raided her home, took her computers, and threatened her family at gunpoint. (CNN)
The Red Cross says fake news about vaccines has become a 2nd pandemic. (CNN)
? What in the actual burning hell is this crap? More than half of the FDNY’s firefighters refuse to take a vaccine? (CNN)
? The vaccine is good, but if you get it you’ll still need to wear a mask to protect others. (The New York Times)
? Pfizer allegedly offered the White House more vaccine doses and Trump declined. (The New York Times)


In this little section, we usually discuss the tech that’s getting us through the pandemic.

But for these last few weeks I’m going to continue last week’s trend. Here’s another TV show you should be watching: Letterkenny.

I have no clue how this one skipped my radar for so long, but Letterkenny’s 9th series premieres on Hulu the day after Christmas.

Letterkenny is the most Canadian thing I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the most cleverly-written, wonderfully acted, and surprisingly well directed shows I’ve seen.

It centers on the denizens of Letterkenny, a city in Ontario. At its core it’s a tale of civic pride, family, loyalty, and community. On its surface it’s crass, poetic, a bit dirty, and full of sex and violence. Yet, somehow, it’s also more fun than anything else you’ll watch.

It’s like someone said “You know what’d be a great idea? If you smashed up a Kickboxer movie, Portlandia, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Full House then hired the most clever writers this side of Archer. And then drenched it in maple syrup.”

The best thing about Letterkenny is that nothing really bad ever happens. If you’re stressed out and anxious this show isn’t going to bum you out — something very few other “sitcoms” can boast.

Anyway, check it out on Hulu. Give it 3-6 episodes and I’m sure you’ll be hooked.

Well, bye

The pandemic isn’t over and we’re all in this together.

The good news is that doing your part is easy peasy lemon squeezy:

1. Wear a mask.
2. Stay 2-3 meters away from others in public spaces.
3. Support government officials who take the pandemic seriously. 


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