Links and Thinks 2021-05-24

1) Analyzing the vast coronavirus literature with CoronaCentral

The overwhelming publication rate means that researchers are unable to keep abreast of the literature. To ameliorate this, we present the CoronaCentral resource that uses machine learning to process the research literature on SARS-CoV-2… We categorize the literature into useful topics and article types and enable analysis of the contents, pace, and emphasis of research during the crisis with integration of Altmetric data.

2) The Few Sentences That Explain Much of What Went Wrong With Our Pandemic Response – Insight

A very good piece by Zeynep Tufekci. Someday, someone (perhaps Dr. Tufekci) will write a book about the cultural/historical frameworks that impeded clear thinking about the pandemic, and our inability to own up to our mistakes. The fact that when the costs are so high people cannot bring themselves to admit their mistakes which, in turn, makes the costs even higher still, seems to be a difficult, and horrifying, truth of the human condition.

The reasons for this delay go back more than a century, to the fight against (incorrect but prevalent) theories that blame miasma—noxious odors, especially from rotting organic material—for diseases. While trying to counter erroneous but millenia-long folk-beliefs, some of the founders of public health and the field of infectious control of diseases around the world made key errors and conflations around the turn of the 20th century. These errors essentially froze into tradition and dogma that went unchanged and uncorrected for more than a century, until a pandemic forced our hand.

The silence may be partly because it is difficult for some people to face up to all this now, having gotten things so wrong for so long. Nonetheless, the historic responsibility is clear, and, besides, this is just the way science works, sometimes. Things go wrong, and then we learn more.

Her New York Times article is here.

3) Opinion | Biden and Moon Are on a Collision Course with North Korea and China

For his part, President Moon said he hopes to use the upcoming summit with President Biden to solidify the U.S.-ROK alliance and “restart the clock of peace and advance the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.” But the alliance and peace-building cannot go hand in hand.