ABOUT THE EPISODE

How can we understand disaster amidst the unknowns in the beginning of a crisis? How do journalists and academics approach information, disorganization, and uncertainty to further understanding during disaster events. Robinson Meyer, a staff writer for the Atlantic covering technology and climate change, and Dr. Kim Fortun, an anthropologist at University of California - Irvine and expert on environmental risk and disaster, discuss the difficulties of reporting on COVID Testing early in the pandemic, what that reporting reveals about the state of governmental response, and how the knowledge of academic researchers can help us approach the uncertainties of the early pandemic. Meyer begins by talking about problems with COVID testing in March 2020 as well as the disparities in test data availability from public health departments across the United States. Dr. Fortun continues by reflecting on the varying time scales researchers of disaster inhabit, from rapid response to long-term analysis, and how analogies from her work on risk informs her assessment of COVID-19. Meyer and Fortun find common ground between academics and journalists and their use of “middle theories” to understand the ongoing crisis. *SPECIAL NOTE: Robinson Meyer requests that listeners not quote his statements from this recording without his permission. For further reading: “The Strongest Evidence Yet That America Is Botching Coronavirus Testing” The COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic Advocacy after Bhophal: Environmentalism, Disaster, New Global Orders

TRANSCRIPT

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