Trial By Error: What Now?

By David Tuller, DrPh

Like many or most, I don€™t know what I€™m supposed to be doing right now. I am €œsheltering at home€ in San Francisco, following the news, making way too many cups of coffee, chatting much more on the phone than usual, checking in with my 90-year-old mom in Manhattan, watching movies I€™m not interested in watching, taking walks with Harold (the mutt) around the neighborhood while keeping several feet away from passersby. It€™s like living in a Twilight Zone episode, for those old enough to remember that. (Or like living in a Black Mirror episode, for others.)

So€¦I had intended to be in England this month. My plan was to attend last week€™s CMRC conference, conduct some interviews, post multiple blogs, meet with members of Parliament, see some fringe theater (American spelling intentional) in London, hang out with friends, and give a couple of presentations. Oh, and Berkeley had scheduled April as a crowdfunding month, so I was planning once again to seek support for my academic position at the Center for Global Public Health.

Well, things are obviously a bit different now.

I€™m taking this week to kind of adjust to our new reality and figure out, well, whatever I can figure out about how to move forward. People who had ME or CFS (or some variant thereof) before the coronavirus epidemic still have ME, CFS or some variant. This situation impacts them, as it does everyone, but at times undoubtedly in different ways; in fact, many people with ME are far more used to being home-bound than most of the population. Patients and scientists have also raised concerns that this wave of viral disease will be followed by a secondary wave of ME-type illnesses triggered by the initial infection.

These are among the issues I will try to look at in the upcoming weeks (or perhaps months) of home sheltering. I also assume more low-quality research will be published even during this crisis. And certainly there is lots of current and past low-quality research that deserves more attention. I also have interviews I€™ve done in the past few years that I€™ve never had the time to write up. I€™m not too worried about finding enough to blog about.

As for crowdfunding€¦well, Berkeley is planning to run a truncated, low-profile campaign starting in early April, since many campus groups scheduled to participate are in need of current support. The university will run a more full-scale campaign in the fall once the crisis has (hopefully) abated. Since I crowdfund for €œTrial By Error€ on Berkeley€™s platform alongside other projects, I will follow that schedule. I’ll have more information about this in the coming weeks.

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