Reading with Naomi Zack: The American Tragedy of COVID-19: Social and Political Crises of 2020 Online
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is a classic tragedy of destruction following errors in judgment. Naomi Zack presents social and political aspects of this disaster as it unfolded in public health through federal and local government structures, society, culture, and the economy. Federalism combined with politics in facing and denying the SARS-CoV2 pandemic has revealed both weaknesses and strengths.
Preparation was woefully inadequate for the 2020 tidal wave of COVID-19 that broke over the medical system, the educational system, the lives of the poor, essential workers, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and women, especially. Rhetoric and conspiracy theories flourished, as Red and Blue Americans politicized the pandemic. Police reform became urgent after billions witnessed George Floyd’s death. The war of the statues evoked new conflicts over free speech.
The X-ray nature of COVID-19 has revealed the United States to itself, in character, incompetence, superstition, and injustice, but also in dedication to caring for others and abiding resilience. The core of democracy held after the 2020 election but vigilance is newly important and required. As a record of this US Plague Year and an argument for why we need to prepare for Climate Change, as well as the next pandemic, this book is an essential resource for every student, scholar, and citizen.
Naomi Zack is Professor of Philosophy at Lehman College.