In the middle of the pandemic, Dr. Nicholas Christakis released a sweeping book, called “Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live.” In it, he drew on scientific, medical, and sociological research, and assessed the transmission of the virus, responses worldwide, and prognosis for the pandemic’s end, including some bold predictions. The paperback edition is just out with some new material.

During the pandemic, standardized tests were suspended in an entire range of educational institutions. Will these changes be temporary or permanent?
More than 600 of these institutions switched from a mandatory to optional test for the 2020-21 application season, and many just flat out refused to accept a test at all in their application process. According to the editor in chief of the Princeton Review, “That is a tectonic change for many schools.”
According to Smithsonian Magazine, “The pandemic sped up changes that were already afoot; even before Covid, more than 1,000 colleges had made the tests optional. Many had been turned off by the way the tests perpetuated socioeconomic disparities, limiting their ability to recruit a diverse freshman class.”
Concerns about disparities in outcomes, at the core of this massive shift, have been behind Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s agenda in New York City, including his past efforts to eliminate the entrance exam for the City’s seven specialized high schools. While that effort has experienced a setback in the State Legislature, the fight will likely carry on by other political leaders. And more recently, the Mayor announced a plan to make sweeping changes to the gifted program in the City’s elementary schools. There are similar efforts in other cities across the country.

Joining today’s conversation is Adrian Wooldridge, a longtime journalist at The Economist, where he is political editor and writes a column on British life and politics, and before that he penned the Schumpeter column on business, finance and management. He was previously the Washington bureau chief for The Economist, where he also wrote the Lexington column. Prior to his role in Washington, he was The Economist‘s West Coast correspondent, management correspondent and Britain correspondent.

JASON RILEY’S BOOK: “Maverick: A Biography of Thomas Sowell”

Books and essays discussed in this episode:

Shall We Wake the President: Two Centuries of Disaster Management from the Oval Office by Tevi Troy

On this podcast, we’ve talked to a lot of policy-makers, pundits, professionals and practitioners about big picture trends they are observing and experiencing as a result of the pandemic.

Today, however, we are going more micro. We’ll talk to a venture capitalist about his portfolio of start-ups, and how those companies have been impacted by changes in the way we work and live, and what they tell us.

To find the published pieces discussed in this episode:

“What the Coronavirus Crisis Reveals About American Medicine”, by Sid Mukherjee, The New Yorker (April 27, 2020)

The Pandemic has either caused a crack-up in our politics or accelerated the crack-up that was well under way. And just when it looked like things were stabilizing, the politics of Covid have evolved along with the Delta variant. Ground zero for how this is playing out right now is California.

California is home to approximately 40 million people and the 5th largest economy in the world. It’s about to have an election on whether to re-call its incumbent governor, Gavin Newsom. How California voters have experienced government regulations — from lockdowns, mask mandates, school closings, and not to mention double-standards — shapes the political environment there.

A few websites referenced in this episode:

AEI’s Critical Threats Project:

China’s borders have been sealed for well over a year now. And those borders will be closed for the foreseeable future. That, obviously, is a result of the pandemic; but, is there a larger grand strategy at play?

For decades now, China’s coupling with western economies has been the dominant theme of the global economic landscape – beginning with China’s 2001 accession to the World Trade Organization.

This was supposed to be the summer that we returned to normal, here in New York City and in every major city around the world. Right?

But now there’s increasing speculation that it might not happen, because of the Delta variant, and other variants that may hit us from the mutating virus.

Who do presidents, prime ministers and business leaders listen to in the midst of managing a crisis? It’s a question that’s always interested me, from my time in government and business and also as a moon-lighting student of history.

I thought about that a lot during the covid pandemic. On this podcast series, we’ve talked about how the formal channels in our governments performed these past 18 months. But how about those unofficial channels from outside the government that wind up shaping our leaders’ thinking and approach to world-changing events.

Yuval currently wears three hats:

At the American Enterprise Institute think tank, he’s the Director of Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies.

Many have been surprised that areas of the real estate market are booming, Post Corona. So what do we know about the pandemic’s impact on an exodus from some cities, and the growth of other cities?

One of the ways that I have learned on this limited series podcast is from our top flight guests, but also from our listeners. A business practitioner – an operator or investor – will hear one of our experts on the pod and get a hold of me with an alternative analysis; it’s like I get to crowdsource ideas from our listeners.

We thank the 92nd Street Y for hosting us then, and for this podcast episode now. You can subscribe to the 92Y podcast here:

One piece that we reference throughout both discussions is by former New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade that he published on Medium. Here is the link to Wade’s piece:

Danny is also a columnist for Bloomberg View and he’s the author of more than ten books. Here are three that I highly recommend: his history of the State of Israel, entitled Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn, his biography of Menachem Begin: The Battle for Israel’s Soul, and more recently We Stand Divided: The Rift Between American Jews and Israel.

News just out of the CDC has created fresh opportunities for normal, communal time together, indoors — just like we did pre-Corona. One of the rituals I have missed over the past year has been attending synagogue. But long before the Covid-19 pandemic, participation in organized religion – across all walks of religious life – was on the decline. Americans had become less engaged in religious institutions, whether it was regular attendance or membership and donations to their local congregation.

Did the pandemic arrest these trends? Did virtual platforms provide new opportunities for religious and communal engagement?

Today we’re doing something… different. After 15 months of avoiding business travel, I boarded a plane to attend meetings in Israel. When I landed, it felt more like I boarded a DeLorean and time-traveled ahead to the era of Post Corona – a land far, far away. With 85% of Israelis, 16 and older, inoculated, and with hospitals emptying out, it was clear that as far as Israelis are concerned – the pandemic is now just another chapter in history. Life in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem felt like a movie trailer for the rest of the world – coming soon to a theater near you. I wanted to capture this intangible energy and bring it to your ears. So I called up Tuli, a Tel Aviv sound engineer and friend of ours who usually works on Israel’s leading films and television shows. He joined me for an afternoon of conversations at the heart of Tel Aviv’s bustling streets. I started with Amit Aronson, a well-known restaurant critic in Israel, a television journalist, blogger and writer. Then I met with Yonatan Sagiv, a PhD in Literature and novelist who has written three popular Hebrew language detective novels. A few blocks away I met with Yaara Keydar, a fashion historian and curator, who is now working on her doctorate at Hebrew University. I wrapped up the day with my old pal Danna Starn, who is Managing Director of YES Studios and — according to The Hollywood Reporter — has a knack for turning “hyper-local shows like ‘Fauda’, ‘On the Spectrum’ and ‘Shtisel’ into international hits”. These conversations paint a picture of life in Post-Pandemic Israel… A picture that could be our reality in a few months.

Josh Rogin is a long-time foreign affairs journalist, currently a columnist for the Global Opinions Section of the Washington Post. He’s also a Political Analyst for CNN.