Zeynep Tufekci on Covid what-ifs

As the Covid pandemic enters its third year, Zeynep Tufekci looked back at the lessons of the past two years for The New York Times.

To examine these questions is to uncover a brutal truth: Much suffering was avoidable, again and again, if different choices that were available and plausible had been made at crucial turning points. By looking at them, and understanding what went wrong, we can hope to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

She summarizes several key counterfactuals:

  • What if China had communicated openly with global health officials in December 2019?
  • What if other countries had acted independently of Chinese officials?
  • What if the public health response had focused on aerosol transmission in early 2020?
  • What if vaccines were widely distributed worldwide?