Our addiction to predictions will be the end of us

Samanth Subramanian in Politico:

Trawling through the news archives, I found predictions of “the new normal” — the post-pandemic world — from as early as the first week of March. At the time, the United Kingdom hadn’t yet gone into lockdown; neither had France, India or Spain. In the United States, President Donald Trump had just about stopped declaring that the virus would miraculously disappear.

Roughly 3,400 people had died as of March 6 but you could still fly from London to New York. The contours of the months to come were fuzzy and indistinct, and yet there we were, making forecasts about life after the coronavirus.

The situation today is, in relative terms, not hugely different. Several governments don’t yet know when and how they will move out of lockdown. We don’t know who will be left immune after this spell of sickness, or if there will be a vaccine, or if there will be a second wave of COVID-19 this winter, or if the virus will mutate, or when it’ll be possible to travel freely across the world once again.

But even in the midst of this flux and uncertainty, we are toiling away at more predictions.

More here.