Social distancing is going to get darker

Even for those who are not facing the terrible threat of assault or worse by members of their households, there are significant concerns related to mental health. People already inclined to depression and anxiety are unlikely to improve their situation under the present conditions. I cannot be the only American of late who has found himself taking his temperature obsessively. We magnify every tiny would-be symptom. My back hurts opposite my lungs? Is this new? For about 15 seconds there I had a slight metallic taste in my mouth. Wait, is that a cough? In the vast majority of cases, what we are experiencing is of no importance. Alas, even hypochondriacs will think twice about running to the pharmacy or the nearest urgent care facility. Instead, they will remain at home, driving themselves mad.

This is to say nothing of the very real possibility of more incidents like the recent attempt by a man in Los Angeles to drive a train into a Navy ship serving as a makeshift hospital. As usual, the motivation here — apparently some conspiracy theory — is not relevant in any formal sense. Speculating about the reasons a train engineer might have for thinking he would make the world a better place by attacking a seaborne medical facility is a fool’s errand. The man is a lunatic, like many lunatics before him and I daresay many to come. Thank heaven no one was injured. But how would our country respond right now to what we call “mass shootings” or other acts of domestic terrorism? Are states like Virginia that have extended shelter-in-place orders through June ready for what could prove to be long, hot summers?