We Know Less about COVID Than We Thought — We Need More Data

A medical employee collects a swab amid the coronavirus, Dresden, Germany, April 15, 2020. (Matthias Rietschel/Reuters)
At least now we can move forward intelligently.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T echnology adoption is often described by the “hype cycle,” which starts with a rapid rise toward the “peak of inflated expectations,” plummets to the “trough of disillusionment,” and then rises gradually along the “slope of enlightenment” before ultimately arriving at the “plateau of productivity” — when we finally figure out how to use the technology effectively. That cycle seems as apt a description as any for the biomedical science around COVID.

When the virus first arrived on our shores, there seemed to be a rush of hope, a sense that, as Matt Damon’s marooned astronaut phrased it in The Martian, we were

David Shaywitz, a physician-scientist and the founder of Astounding HealthTech, a Silicon Valley advisory service, is an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School.

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