The last literary essay I wrote was about dystopian fiction. At the time, in 2016, I had been struck by the publication, within the space of a few months, of a large number of novels offering visions of the future in which some catastrophe—climate change, natural disaster, financial collapse, a pandemic—destroys society as we know it, plunging humankind back into a nightmarish anti-Eden. I was curious about what such novels—written by authors who did not characteristically write science fiction—said about our current state of mind, our anxieties and fears.
Let me begin with heartfelt congratulations to the 2020 graduates of Berkeley who, like their peers across the country, were deprived of their commencement ceremonies by the coronavirus and the need for social distancing.
As the death toll for COVID-19 crosses 100,000 people in the United States—the highest number of any country in the world—African Americans continue to be disproportionately impacted by the virus. Nationally, African Americans are nearly twice as likely to die from COVID-19 as would be expected based on their share of the population according to an NPR analysis.
Posted on June 2, 2020 - 4:26pm
In January of 2014, a woman in her 80s, who sometimes used a cane to walk, stood on a platform hundreds of feet up in the canopy of a Costa Rican forest, getting ready to leap into the sky.
“Nobody thought it was a good idea,” says Darek DeFreece, who was president of the Cal Alumni Association at the time. CAA was leading the trip through its Cal Discoveries Travel program. “I went and talked to her, and she said, ‘Look, I’ve got one more chance to do this in my life, and I want to go.’”
Posted on May 29, 2020 - 9:36am
Rebecca Alturk would have graduated from UC Berkeley in May. As she crossed the stage to retrieve her diploma, cheered on by her mother and 6-year-old son, she might have reflected on her childhood living in motel rooms between evictions, or her rocky start at Cal, trying to balance raising an infant with a full course-load.
Posted on May 11, 2020 - 3:46pm
EVEN BEFORE the novel coronavirus struck, an urgent race was on to get migrants out of America’s overcrowded detention centers, where they were already at risk of abuse, malnutrition, a lack of medical resources, and insufficient access to legal services.
Posted on April 30, 2020 - 2:51pm
Michael Tubbs, the 29-year-old mayor of Stockton, has the kind of life that, if you squint, could convince you the American dream is alive and well. He grew up in Stockton, the son of a single mother and an incarcerated father. He spent his lunch money buying SAT prep books, studying hungry. He eventually attended Stanford and interned at the White House. In 2016, he became the city’s first black mayor.
Posted on April 30, 2020 - 10:06am
WHEN CAMRYN ROGERS WAS A HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR, she downloaded an app that counted the days until the 2020 Olympics. It was 2017, and the Vancouver native was already a record-breaking competitor in the hammer throw.
Posted on April 7, 2020 - 1:28pm
There aren’t enough tests. That’s the problem now on many of our minds.
The idea for the testing facility was born just two weeks ago, when a virologist in Jennifer Doudna’s lab saw her own projects put on hold.
Posted on April 3, 2020 - 5:14pm
Over the phone, Olantis Livingston’s gravelly voice is tinged with fear. In addition to a viral pandemic, the 46-year-old must confront a sudden loss of income. Livingston has sold Street Spirit, a Berkeley newspaper covering local homelessness issues, for 16 years.
Posted on April 2, 2020 - 12:44pm
ON FRIDAY, MARCH 13, UC BERKELEY CHANCELLOR Carol Christ announced that instruction for the remainder of the semester would be moved to an online platform, clearing parts of the campus at one of its busiest times of the semester. Many students were surprised, others weren’t. But the majority saw the decision as a signal that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was yet to come.
Posted on April 2, 2020 - 11:12am
On Wednesday, March 25, Michael Lu, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, hosted a virtual Q&A, “Coronavirus: Facts and Fears,” open to the public. For 90 minutes, experts from the school and other campus health services responded to listeners’ day-to-day fears and practical concerns about navigating life during the pandemic.
Posted on March 27, 2020 - 10:35am
On Thursday evening, March 19, California State Senator and UC Berkeley alumna Nancy Skinner held a phone-in town hall for constituents, focused on the shelter in place orders. As she was about to introduce her guest experts from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, she interrupted herself with the news that Governor Gavin Newsom had just announced a statewide shelter-in-place order, raising the stakes of the meeting.
Posted on March 23, 2020 - 10:04am
Dr. Steve LeVine has been an emergency physician at Kaiser Oakland since 1989. A UC Berkeley graduate, he completed his medical education at UC San Francisco. As he recalls, he started his career at the dawn of the AIDS crisis and is now nearing the end of his career amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked what life is like in Bay Area emergency rooms at this moment, he likened it to “being in the tide pools when the tide has gone way, way out and you’re looking at flopping fish, and not looking at the horizon for the big tsunami wave.”
Posted on March 19, 2020 - 7:19pm
In the last few months, Amy Qin’s reporting attire has included gloves, masks, and sometimes a hazmat suit. Stationed in China, the New York Times reporter has been on the frontlines, reporting on the coronavirus epidemic and its impact on the people of Wuhan and other Chinese cities.
Posted on March 19, 2020 - 5:06pm