My Pandemic Time Capsule

I read thousands of articles in the past year. These six are the most important for posterity.

Craig Spencer MD MPH

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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

When the pandemic started I spent hours reading every day, alternating between research pre-prints, opinion pieces and long-form articles.

As a frontline physician and frequent guest on radio shows and cable news, I wanted to be up to date on every aspect of Covid-19. With how much was published on the pandemic every day, just trying to keep up was a massive, time-intensive, and exhausting endeavour.

I have no idea how many pieces I’ve read in the past year, but it’s surely in the thousands. As the Covid tidal wave recedes here in the U.S., I’m spending less time reading about the pandemic and more time reading for pleasure (I finally finished a library book I checked out in the ‘before times’).

But I keep thinking of the pieces that impacted me the most — the articles that fundamentally changed how I think about the pandemic and the testimonials that will forever serve as a reminder of just how cataclysmic this past year has been.

Here are six I’m putting in my pandemic time capsule.

Helen Ouyang. I’m an E.R. Doctor in New York. None of Us Will Ever Be the Same. New York Times Magazine. April 2020.

This pandemic diary by New York City emergency doctor Helen Ouyang is painfully honest and raw. For readers it’s the closest thing to being on the frontlines during the early weeks of the pandemic in New York. Helen started writing about Italy’s battle with the pandemic before the virus came surging into her own hospital in March 2020. This piece will long serve as a testament to the daily struggles faced by healthcare workers — a tsunami of really sick patients compounded by the constant challenge of keeping oneself safe with protective supplies running low.

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Craig Spencer MD MPH

ER doctor | Ebola Survivor | Public Health Professor at Brown University | A Few Other Things