Anyway, the more I think about it, something is odd about our wild reaction to COVID. My brilliant friend, J., a real genius, says that the difference between COVID and much higher mortality items like cancer and heart disease is that COVID is contagious and cancer and heart disease aren’t.
True enough, and plenty of reason for fear.
But tuberculosis is contagious. The swine flu — still killing a lot of people here every year — is extremely contagious. When I was a child, in the late ’40s and ’50s, every summer we lived and played in terror of polio. We were really scared of that horrible disease that crippled and killed so many fine people, including FDR. Swimming pools were particular objects of dread.
We didn’t close the schools. We didn’t tell people they couldn’t worship in groups. We didn’t run nonstop 24/7 Death-O-Meters on TV (then brand new). We didn’t even close the swimming pools. We didn’t use the government to terrify people. We didn’t bankrupt the nation to pay for harm done by the disease.