Speed Reads

End Times

The hour when the U.S. coronavirus outbreak got real, starting with Sarah Palin rapping in a bear suit

"It is hard for many people to intuitively appreciate exponential growth," Yale science professor and physician Nicholas Christakis tweeted Wednesday. "Nothing seems to be happening for a long time, until a lot happens at once." A lot happened on Wednesday night.

In short order, President Trump gave an Oval Office address, since clarified, that included a partial ban on travel to and from Europe, the NBA indefinitely suspended its season, Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife have tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, and Sen. Maria Cantwelll's (D-Wash.) office said one of its staffers has also tested positive, putting the new virus inside the U.S. Capitol.

But right before any of that happened, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was unmasked as the bear on The Masked Singer, and she rapped the Sir Mix-A-Lot hit "Baby Got Back."

Maybe that should have been a sign.

"When something dangerous is growing exponentially, everything looks fine until it doesn’t," Megan McArdle writes in The Washington Post. "The crisis in northern Italy is what happens when a fast doubling rate meets a 'threshold effect,' where the character of an event can massively change once its size hits a certain threshold. In this case, the threshold is things such as ICU beds. If the epidemic is small enough, doctors can provide respiratory support to the significant fraction of patients who develop complications, and relatively few will die. But once the number of critical patients exceeds the number of ventilators and ICU beds and other critical-care facilities, mortality rates spike."

In any case, you can watched Palin's masked performance below. Peter Weber