James Hamblin

James Hamblin

M.D., staff writer @TheAtlantic, lecturer @Yale, public health and preventive medicine

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It's always been painful to see panicky takes, but especially now. The main issue we're dealing with is indiffence/exhaustion. Omicron is consequential systemically but doesn't change what's recommended at an individual level. Mute it if you need and keep doing the best you can.

Yes we’re all very likely getting infected by this virus at some point(s). But we’re also likely to get in car accidents at some point(s). That doesn’t mean you close your eyes and let go of the wheel.

Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year. If life’s a sine wave, it’s worth recognizing when you may be at a nadir. Nowhere to go but up.

I understand the impulse to scold unvaccinated people. But this is an emergency. The catharsis of blame isn’t the priority. You want people to be safe and keep others safe. You want them to get vaccinated. The question isn’t what’s justified to say. It’s what will reach them.

A missing element in harrowing stories of overwhelmed hospitals and exhausted staff is the decades of CEOs/consultants working to maximize profit and extract maximum value from every employee and ICU bed at all times, leaving hospitals with as little surge capacity as possible.

Be cautious with the "omicron is mild" idea This wave is causing fewer hospitalizations per positive test compared to prior waves Which is just what you'd expect two years into a pandemic when most people have at least some immunity Doesn't yet mean the virus itself is mild

I feel like CDC could just make its warning against cruise ships permanent.

[March 2020] “Most people don’t get that sick” [20 million deaths later] “Most people don’t get that sick”

It’s been a long year, but soon 2020 will be behind us.

I’ve been tolerant of the restrictions surrounding gravity. I’ve worn the required parachutes while skydiving. I’ve used “staircases” to descend tall buildings. I’ve even exercised caution around crevices and open wells. But enough is enough. We need our lives back.


Italy has banned weddings and funerals for 16 million people. Japan has closed schools for a month. France and Iraq have banned public gatherings. The U.N. has canceled all physical meetings to address climate change. Americans are uncertain what to do about Coachella.

Lots of people are feeling unproductive. But if you successfully infect zero people with the virus, seriously you’ve been extremely productive.

The vaccine shortage doesn't need to exist. Pfizer and Moderna could share their design with the dozens of other pharma companies who stand ready to produce their vaccines and end the pandemic.

People call vaccine mandates "Orwellian" even though Orwell died at 46 of tuberculosis, which is now preventable with a vaccine.

Just to say again, the answer to “who could’ve predicted this?” is everyone who studies infectious diseases.

Outdoor dining has gradually escalated into what might reasonably be called a buildings.

This is part of a dangerous trend in reporting each allergic reaction as news. A million people have been vaccinated. A few had allergic reactions. All turned out fine. More will occasionally happen. They don’t all need headlines. It inaccurately skews perception of risk.

This concludes the first week of 2021.

The thing is if shutdowns and social distancing work perfectly and are extremely effective it will seem in retrospect like they were totally unnecessary overreactions.

Remember when people said the pandemic would be a great equalizer? It turns out the 614 billionaires in the U.S. grew their net worth by almost $1 trillion dollars while congress spent nine months debating whether working people who've been ordered not to work should get $600.