If you go out now, you might feel guilty later. I do.

But still, we bought hamburgers and milkshakes that servers handed to us, ate them at tables which would soon seat other customers, used trays and glasses that others would soon use, and walked home feeling a lot better than we did having stayed inside all day.

Then I woke up on Sunday morning and learned that someone I knew — someone I spend a lot of time around and had had a beer with on Thursday — was displaying all three of the most telling symptoms of the virus: fever, coughing, shortness of breath. He hadn’t yet been tested, but someone at his gym had, and came up positive. All of a sudden, I had to stare something straight in the face: I might have it, and might have infected the other patrons of the wine bar, the servers, or even my friends…

As I now commence isolation, I’m left to think about every single person I’ve interacted with in some way in the past several days, and who they’ve interacted with, and who they’ve interacted with, and who they’ve interacted with. How many of them are diligently washing their hands, or avoiding large gatherings, or staying away from crowded public areas such as airports? I’m reaching out to those I can think of, but how many will respond with appropriate caution? How many of them have compromised immune systems? What about their loved ones? And I now realize that a very large number of people — in China, in Italy, in Boston, in Seattle, in anywhere — are probably pondering versions of this very thing, or probably will soon. (If you have an interesting story to tell about it, I am at [email protected] I’d love to hear from you.)

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