Culture and Difference in COVID 19

An incomplete page in the sense that the virus continues for the foreseeable future.

UPDATE Summer 2020 I have more material to upload and will be doing it throughout the first two weeks of August.

UPDATE December 2021 Well it’s not over yet. The letters from Asia page is more or less up to date but the updates got further and further apart as time went on. With the arrival of the omicron variant, we have just begun our fourth surge. By now the disease is much less dangerous to most people but changing the way each nation behaves and the cultural differences remain very marked.

So much has been published about this virus that no-one can keep track except perhaps the algorithm search systems in FaceBook and Google. Here then are just a few items and links that I have found useful. There is no particular meaning to the order of items on this page. I am simply uploading materials from my files in the order in which they appear.

Johns Hopkins Virus Data, the source for all of my black and orange charts.

Searching for Safety, a book I have used often in classes, underlies my thinking about COVID. In Wildavsky’s terms, the USA is tuning up its “immune system” safety model, New Zealand is building a “fortress” safety model. This connects to the idea of “herd immunity” which has been floating everywhere but Wildavsky’s notion is not identical. I follow Wildavsky here in the sense that I am pretty certain we on this earth need to learn to live in the same worlds as the virus. The only virus humans have ever purposely excluded successfully is Smallpox. New Zealand looks like a “success” now but will still likely need to learn how live with the virus in the future.

Part of the map published daily in Japan since the start of the virus which allows people to “self-track,” to learn whether they might have been in contact with a known case. The blue dot affected one of our friends in Yamanashi-prefecture.

Each of the map cases has a descriptive text link which shows where the person went. Our friend shopped in a new place rather than cross paths with virus residue.

Cleanliness has become a much more explicit concern in the USA. The community gym at our New York apartment building has new rules. The New York Times had an article about the ways hotels are pushing their cleanliness standards to bring back bookings. Some countries and communities around the world are doing mass public disinfection spraying which looks positively terrifying and is not recommended by the WHO.