Stand up comedy is the fruit fly of the comedy world. Comedians can think of an idea in the morning, expand it in the afternoon, and perform it that night. Nothing is above the laugh and the feedback is fast and firm. Jokes work or they don’t.
Covid, no laughing matter, has been similar. Though not as fast or firm, the cycle between idea, test, and results has been pretty good. Though clear-ish now, vaccines, hand washing, masks, social distancing, lockdowns, etc. etc. etc. have been a figure-it-out-as-we-go kind of thing. There’s a lot we didn’t know, and still don’t know.
Another area where we know more is our sense of costs and benefits. For instance:
“Send your kid to camp the first day. When they come home they won’t have Covid, because they didn’t get Covid on the first day of camp and they will be like, ‘Wow, camp was amazing.’ The normalcy makes the other pieces vivid.” – Emily Oster, September 2021
What Oster does nicely here is frame the Covid camp trade off for people who overweight the risk from Covid for kids and underweight the reward from camp. During ’20 & ’21 Covid has been all we think about, and we need a reminder about this other stuff. A small step – the first day – is a good approach for highlighting this balance.
We haven’t always known that kids are mostly okay. We haven’t always known that camp is mostly ok (maybe up to 20,000 people?). We’ve learned that being younger is better. We’ve learned that local conditions matter – a lot! We’ve learned a lot.
Framing information one way rather than another is one of my favorite themes.