Public Health Experts, They’re Just Like Us!

It’s Easy to Forget That Our Scientific Community Is Learning About COVID in Real Time, Too

A friend recently reminded Kavita, a physician epidemiologist, about a text exchange the two had shared in February 2020. When he asked how worried he should be about SARS-CoV-2, then a “novel coronavirus,” Kavita had told him to get his flu vaccine, texting that influenza was the most important respiratory virus circulating in the U.S. at the time.

Today their conversation seems darkly humorous. Kavita’s recommendation to get the flu shot held up. But as we all know now, SARS-CoV-2 rapidly became the most important pathogen of concern. The friend was …

When Music Became Therapy in Interwar France

In the Face of Uncertainty, Trauma, and Extreme Isolation, Musicians Turned to Their Art

In March of 2020 I found myself alone (except for my two cats) in a small bungalow in Bloomington, Indiana, trying and failing to distract myself from COVID-19. I was …

Our Favorite Essays of 2021

At a Moment Where There Are No Easy Answers, Zócalo Contributors Asked Unexpected, Tough—and Sometimes Quixotic—Questions

It felt like 2021 was a year of firsts—the first rollout of new vaccine technology; the first insurrection in Washington, D.C.; the first female U.S. vice president; and the first …

Our Favorite Events of 2021

New Ideas, a New Home, and a New Hybrid Event Format Connected Us With Angelenos—and Audiences Around the World

Over 18 years and 650 events since we hosted our inaugural Zócalo event in 2003, Zócalo Public Square remains as fiercely committed as ever to bringing people together around ideas. …

The Weird, Wonderful Work of Pandemic Geropsychology | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Weird, Wonderful Work of Pandemic Geropsychology

With His Elderly Patients Isolated by COVID, a Therapist Turned to Dr. Pepper, Music, and Cheez Doodles

On March 30, 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic rendered silent the vibrant skilled nursing community where I worked. All the doors were closed, with residents in solitary confinement in their rooms. …

Why Social Distance Can Be Good for Democracy | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why Social Distance Can Be Good for Democracy

Making Space to Reflect on Others’ Beliefs and Our Own Makes Us Better Citizens

I wrote my new book in lockdown from a socially distanced corner of my home. That might seem an odd perch from which to write about citizenship, but it taught …