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I received this text from my best friend Friday morning:
Two nights ago I felt restless and slept fitfully. Yesterday afternoon I noticed a sore throat. Last night, when I went to bed, I was chilled, and woke up every hour or so in a cold sweat. At that time I also noticed the headache. This morning I am drifting in and out of sleep, I ache all over, and I have a slight cough. I’ve canceled today’s jobs, and am hoping to recover over the weekend.
It seems likely that he and his wife have the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Their grown son received a positive test result a day or two after Thanksgiving, and the family spent Thanksgiving together, unmasked, un-distanced. His wife and their son and daughter-in-law have been mildly ill since the holiday.
I responded as would be expected, with a mixture of sympathy and gallows humor. He’s in his mid-50s, the odds that he and his wife will recover are excellent, and I’m not really worried about them.
My friend, who is also my younger brother, shares with me a skepticism about the Wuhan coronavirus and America’s response to it. We both think that the lockdowns should end – should have ended months ago. We think this disease, as bad as it is, isn’t all that bad, and that Americans need to get back to work. Life isn’t and can’t be risk-free, and the risk of this virus isn’t that great for most of us.
But most of all, we share a belief that Americans should be free, even though being free isn’t as safe as being under house arrest. We’ve had most of a year to deal with this thing, to build care capacity and to secure the relatively small portion of the population for whom this represents a serious danger. Instead, we chose to panic and to cower, to destroy the economy, and to inflict untold collateral damage on America’s families. We have lived, for nine months, under the capricious mismanagement of fearful and incompetent governors and hand-wringing technocrats.
On January 1, a new year begins. I hope and expect Americans to refuse to live through 2021 as we have half-lived through 2020.Published in