hen the coronavirus came to Washington, almost every working artist saw their plans evaporate. Theater, dance and musical performances were canceled, while galleries and bookshops were temporarily shuttered to adhere with the social distancing measures put in place in states throughout the nation. But the artistic impulse, as well as the need for a steady income, did not subside. With the help of digital media, Seattle artists pivoted quickly to reframe their existing works as digital experiences, or to create wholly new works inspired by the pandemic. This Changes Everything host Sara Bernard speaks with Crosscut arts and culture editor Brangien Davis about the blow dealt to the arts industry and how the new methods of creating and sharing art could change the way artists and audiences interact after the virus has passed.
Community is at the core of almost every organized religion the world over. So what happens to the faithful and their leaders when gathering is potentially deadly and forbidden by government? As all things in this era of coronavirus, the answer is complicated. Many religious leaders are finding new ways to conduct the rituals of their faith, from the most intimate to the necessarily communal, while adhering to public health guidelines. Then there are others standing in opposition to government orders and encouraging their followers to gather in person. The challenges to the faithful posed by COVID-19 are not unique to the United States, but in a country that considers religious freedom a cornerstone they are certainly more pronounced. For this episode of This Changes Everything, host Sara Bernard talks with Crosscut Report Lilly Fowler about the efforts of Catholic priests to administer sacraments while staying safe, the resistance that is cropping up among some of the faithful and the impact that the virus could have on the future of religious life in America.
As the world grapples with the spread of the novel coronavirus, another event from history has been invoked again and again: the so-called Spanish flu of 1918-19. While that pandemic, which killed an estimated 50 million people, took hold at a very different time in world history — the First World War was winding down — the similarities are striking. From a public contending with draconian public health measures to charlatans peddling unproven cures, both the Spanish flu and the novel coronavirus are tests of society’s ability to respond to a force that doesn’t easily bend to human will. But what happened after the earlier pandemic ended? Crosscut’s resident historian Knute Berger looks past the initial epidemic and talks about how the flu changed the culture of the United States, and Seattle in particular, for years afterward and what that might mean for a future after COVID-19.
Misinformation is nothing new. In the past few years, the spread of convenient fictions and damaging distortions has become ubiquitous in American life, as trolls and propagandists seek to confuse and mislead the American people. What is new, in the era of coronavirus, is the deadly impact of that misinformation. From the beginning of the outbreak in the United States, public health recommendations were questioned at the highest levels while doubts spread about the intentions and efficacy of social distancing. Crosscut engagement editor Mohammed Kloub talks with TCE about the current hunger for information and the troubling trends he is seeing as everyone from Fox News hosts to the president of the United States to our own relatives promote and magnify misinformation about the virus.
In the weeks since the novel coronavirus claimed its first American victim in late February, COVID-19 has come to consume every facet of daily life in the United States, as it has in countries around the globe. As the number of cases rise, many Americans have been ordered to stay at home, bringing the economy to a near standstill. But in the days before that first death, Americans were largely unaware of the virus and for six weeks it quietly spread throughout Western Washington, the first epicenter of the American outbreak. As it did so, Crosscut reporter Hannah Weinberger was tracking the story of the first reported case, growing more anxious and, it turned out, getting sick. For this first episode of This Changes Everything, host Sara Bernard talks with Weinberger about those early days, what she learned about our health care system's preparedness and what it was like to grapple with a new kind of anxiety before it swept the nation.