Mister Rogers-type nice isn’t working in many parts of the country. It’s time to make people scared and uncomfortable. It’s time for some sharp, focused terrifying realism.

“Fear appeals can be very effective,” said Jay Van Bavel, associate professor of psychology at New York University, who co-authored a paper in Nature about how social science could support Covid response efforts. (They may not be needed as much in places like New York, he noted, where people experienced the constant sirens and the makeshift hospitals.)

I’m not talking fear-mongering, but showing in a straightforward and graphic way what can happen with the virus.

From what I could find, the state of California came close to showing the urgency: a soft-focus video of a person on a ventilator, featuring the sound of a breathing machine, but not a face. It exhorted people to wear a mask for their friends, moms and grandpas.