Interactive Transcripts from the Coronavirus Front Lines

Frontline published a series of articles about Covid-19 in April. Two of the articles link to more material from the main subject of the story: an interactive transcript thanks to Frontline’s Transparency project.

Publishing the full transcript makes it possible for the reader to take a deeper dive into the subject of the story. These text-only interviews have an interactive element: select text from the interview to get a link directly to the selected passage. This allows anyone to quote from these interviews and include a link that allows the reader to see the quote in context.

The story I Feel Anguished: Research Center Had Warned of Pandemic Threat links to an interview with J. Stephen Morrison, Director of the Global Health Policy Center.

Here’s a quote from the Morrison interview, with a link that takes you to that quote in context:

And we did not have any senior figure within the White House structure with authority and gravitas on these matters. So the team swung into action in the bowels of the White House immediately, but it had a hard time connecting to higher levels.

And the story Too Late for New York, Experts Warn, but Other States Can Still Stop Coronavirus‘s Spread
links to an interview with Britta and Nicholas Jewell, infectious disease epidemiologist and epidemiological statistician.

Here’s a quote from the Jewell interview, with a link that takes you to that quote in context:

You mentioned about the worldwide and U.S. domestic spending on the military budget, and how it completely dwarfs what we spend on a public health preparedness. And some are calling this the greatest intelligence failure of the United States ever, because here’s an enemy, if you wish to use that metaphor, that’s come here and we are completely unprepared.

Frontline also published transcripts of two of the interviews from the April 21 Frontline documentary Coronavirus Pandemic.

Here are a couple of quotes from The Frontline Interview: Jay Inslee. Inslee is the governor of Washington state.

And so we thought we were, in some sense, doing everything we could at that moment. Subsequent genetic research suggested that there was some infection going on that was not visible to us because people were not experiencing actual symptoms.

We always knew that we would have to lead the charge, given the president’s reluctance to really exercise leadership on this. And we sort of knew that he had an intent of downplaying what was an emerging problem, that, you know, could only be explained by someone who had their eye on the Dow Jones rather than an eye on the epidemiological curve.

And here are a couple of quotes from The Frontline Interview: Francis Riedo. Riedo is the doctor who confirmed that COVID-19 was spreading at the community level in the US.

There was this realization that there was probably expansion of coronavirus around the world. It just wasn’t evident yet.

One of the things that I regret not doing early on was actually saving all those samples that we did for influenza, and we have respiratory pathogen, multiplex PCRs. And had I thought of it at the time, we could have easily sequestered those specimens and it would have been hundreds of specimens that we could have easily tested and established earliest case and so forth.

If reporting is the first draft of history, it’s useful, when writing that first draft, to make the source material widely available. I’m happy to be helping Frontline do that.