'Bleak picture’: Political scientist lays out new developments that prove the coronavirus ‘nightmare’ won’t end anytime soon

Journalist Yascha Mounk, in an article for The Atlantic as well as a Twitter thread, on Tuesday offered a sobering analysis of the ongoing coronavirus, emphasizing that Americans must prepare themselves for a “darker reality” and realize that “prospects for deliverance” from “this nightmare” are “remote.”

Mounk’s Twitter thread is essentially a condensed version of his Atlantic article, and he lays out his reasons why Americans shouldn’t expect a quick and easy solution to the crisis.

“Three new developments add up to a bleak picture: deliverance is not in sight,” Mounk tweets.

Mounk notes that in recent weeks, he had “three great hopes for how to end the nightmare: (1) fatality rates might be much lower than we thought. (2) An effective treatment could become available soon. (3) We could put an effective test-and-trace system in place.” But the journalist quickly adds that “all three hopes now seem remote” and goes on to explain why.

Mounk observes that for #1, “We now have the first results from a statewide antibody test in New York State. The test finds that the coronavirus is much more prevalent than previous case counts suggested: about 14% of New York residents have had COVID-19.”

Mounk adds, “This seems like good news: if a lot more people have had COVID-19, then it’s far less deadly than we thought!….. (But) the best studies we have imply that millions may have to die in the United States for us to reach herd immunity. Until that possibility is ruled out, plans to brave the virus by going back to normal remain in the realm of the stupid or the sociopathic.”

For #2, Mounk laments that there is “no effective treatment is in sight.” The journalist observes that although Trump has “talked up hydroxychloroquine…. the first serious studies from France and the United States bear bad news: it does not help patients with COVID-19” — and nor does the drug remdesivir appear to be a way to combat coronavirus, he adds.

“I remain hopeful that we may yet discover other effective treatments,” Mounk writes. “And it’s imaginable that a vaccine could become available faster than experts predict. But for now, hopes of quickly finding a wonder drug have been dashed.”

For #3, Mounk observes, “The U.S. isn’t anywhere close to test-and-trace. It now seems less likely than ever that the United States will do what is necessary to reopen the economy without causing a second wave of deadly infections.”

Meanwhile, Mounk concludes his Atlantic article by warning that recent developments “paint a bleak picture of the months that lie ahead.”

“COVID-19 is too deadly to let it rip through the population,” Mounk asserts. “An effective cure is not in sight. And the federal government is incapable of formulating a coherent pandemic response. After weeks in which it made sense to hope that something would happen to end this nightmare, the prospects for deliverance are more remote than ever.”