Coronavirus dominates the news—and rightfully so. But perhaps even more urgent than the headlines are the moment-by-moment conversations playing out in groups of friends, parents, and children across the world and the internet as the virus spreads.
Coverage can hardly keep pace with events. But one thing that is certain is that COVID-19 is serving to lay the condition of our public and private institutions, and/or those who lead them, pitilessly bare.
Beyond the controversy over assignations of blame, however, the time has come for Americans to think carefully and fundamentally about what sort of structural changes must be made to set our country on a footing that squares, in a forward-facing manner, with both the new world we live in today and our foundational understandings of human life.
This conversation must range widely and deeply. And to a degree, such a discussion is already taking place—largely off the “world stage” of conventional discourse, outside the policing eye of established media and administrative functionaries. It is with this in mind that we have gathered respondents from a range of backgrounds—some who are well known, and others who operate anonymously from an outsider perspective—to access and encourage the full scope of discussion on a topic that affects us all. We hope thereby to present a collection of fresh institutional appraisals in the time of the coronavirus. It will continue to expand in the days, perhaps weeks, to come as more contributors add further thoughts.
We hope to do everything in our capacity to spur and support the American people and their government in response to this sweeping challenge—and the unsettled, transforming world of which it is now such prominent part.