Health

As the animated guide evolves, so does the virus summary


Times Insider explain who we are and what we do and provide behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

This month, the Coronavirus Briefing – a newsletter about the pandemic that began in January 2020 – switched to the Virus Briefing. The new weekly newsletter, written by Jonathan Wolfe, a Times reporter, expands on the press conference’s mission to include updates and expert insight on various diseases and pathogens – such as monkeypox and the polio virus – are spreading across the globe.

The Coronavirus Briefing has served as an important source of pandemic news since Covid-19 was a mysterious new disease. More than two years later, it’s still committed to providing readers with the updates they need to know. However, as the recent press conference reported, Covid is “here to stay,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The briefing is changing to reflect that view, with a greater focus on living with the virus rather than preventing infection.

In an interview, Mr. Wolfe reflected on more than two years of writing the Coronavirus Brief and discussed what will change – and what won’t – in the new format. This interview has been edited.

How have years of writing the Coronavirus Briefing shaped your report?

It gave me a broader understanding of how the virus affects humans. Per issue, we’ll ask readers to send us a note showing how they’ve responded to the pandemic – I think we have 20,000 at the moment. Readers have written with stories about how losing businesses, or having a sick family member, or how the virus is affecting their mental health. I’ve heard so many opinions and stories in real time that I wouldn’t have. It certainly made me understand the full impact of the virus and its harm on all aspects of life.

Will reader engagement continue in Virus Briefing?

Sure. We really want to interact with our readers; they always have really smart stuff to offer and their stories are super interesting.

Essentially, the focus is shifting to include more types of pathogens. We will definitely keep an eye on the coronavirus pandemic; that will probably still be our main focus. But of course, we’ll also keep an eye on monkeypox, polio, West Nile – any other pathogens that might arise. We’ll also cover more general health news as it makes sense.

What else entices you about Coronavirus Briefing?

One thing I’ve learned is drawing on the expertise of my colleagues at The New York Times. We work with really great people who are very generous with their time. The newsletter covers a wide range of topics, from the actual virus itself, to how the pandemic is affecting the economy, to how schools are responding. Since we cover a different topic every day, we really rely on our colleagues to help us get up to speed and fill us in with what our readers need to know.

What new additions will be included in the Virus Summary?

The new weekly newsletter will be the main topic of the week for readers to grasp. We will also send news updates on Mondays and Fridays, but they will be larger in nature during the week, rather than immediately.

It will focus more on whatever pathogens are making headlines, and we’ll rely on Times experts to help explain what we need to know. We will also be looking to experts outside of The Times, for help filling out the story.

Can you talk a little bit about the change of Virus Briefing?

We are at a point where Americans are trying very hard to live with the virus. It becomes a part of our lives. The acute phase in which Americans are so concerned about the infection is fading. The government has also shifted focus on how we should approach the virus.

We are now moving into the next phase of the pandemic, where we are seeing ripple effects on our mental health or on the economy or on kids trying to catch up. get to school in time. We will focus on those types of effects rather than treatment and prevention information. But if I’ve learned anything in the past two years, it’s that the coronavirus is always capable of surprises. So we were prepared for things to change. But in the meantime, the Virus Compendium will be a guide to how best to live your life as we experience the side effects of the pandemic.



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