And what it lost in the process

Overhead view of a coronavirus molecule made of journal articles. More are falling onto the pile.
Overhead view of a coronavirus molecule made of journal articles. More are falling onto the pile.
Illustrations: Ricardo Tomás

1.


‘We are on an absolutely catastrophic path,’ said a COVID-19 doctor at America’s best-prepared hospital.

Side-view of a hospital bed with a metal bar above it; hanging from it is a triangular yellow caution sign.
Side-view of a hospital bed with a metal bar above it; hanging from it is a triangular yellow caution sign.
Photo illustration: The Atlantic; source: J-Elgaard/E+/Getty Images


More people than ever are hospitalized with COVID-19. Health-care workers can’t go on like this.

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Members of the medical staff rest on a stretcher in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on July 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Photo: Go Nakamura/Getty Images


The metaphors that Trump and others use when talking about COVID-19 are making the pandemic worse.

Silhouetted person lifting weights that have coronavirus molecules on the ends rather than weights.
Silhouetted person lifting weights that have coronavirus molecules on the ends rather than weights.
Photo illustration: The Atlantic; sources: Getty Images/Shutterstock


The new coronavirus seems so strange because it has our full attention in a way most viruses don’t.

Anatomical illustration of a human heart with small coronavirus cells overlaid on it.
Anatomical illustration of a human heart with small coronavirus cells overlaid on it.
Credit: De Agostini/Getty Images


A colorful collage of medical implements, ants, and medical illustrations, overlaid with a black spiral.
A colorful collage of medical implements, ants, and medical illustrations, overlaid with a black spiral.
Illustration: Aaron Marin

As the U.S. heads toward the winter, the country is going round in circles, making the same conceptual errors that have plagued it since spring.


Without understanding the lingering illness that some patients experience, we can’t understand the pandemic

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Image: Getty / Paul Spella / The Atlantic


The coronavirus is hitting different parts of America in different ways, making the crisis harder to predict, control, or understand

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Image: Joan Wong / The Atlantic


A guide to making sense of a problem that is now too big for any one person to fully comprehend

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Image: Joan Wong


The fight against the coronavirus won’t be over when the U.S. reopens. Here’s how the nation must prepare itself.

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Image: Joan Wong

About

Ed Yong

Science writer at The Atlantic. Author of I CONTAIN MULTITUDES, a New York Times bestseller on animal-microbe partnerships. https://edyong.me/

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