May 26, 2021

FASTER, PLEASE: The End Is Near. No, Seriously.

At what point do we accept our illness-or-death risk? That’s not a collective decision. It’s an individual one.

I’m already eating at the bar at my corner beer-and-burger joint again.

On the other hand, I’m not willing to fly to India just now. Not as much out of fear of Covid but because, if I happened to have, say, a heart attack, I clearly would be unable to get a hospital bed or an oxygen mask.

Perception of risk is everything. Consider this: about 3 million Americans die each year. (TW//: We all have to die of something.)

In most years, we shuffle off this mortal coil due to, in this order: heart disease, cancer, accidents, COPD, stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, kidney failure, flu/pneumonia and suicide.

Last year, despite all the ink spilled on it, Covid-19 was our leading cause of death only in some weeks. I vividly remember when it first hit № 1: it was on April 7. Nonetheless, it still ended 2020 at just № 3, after heart disease and cancer.

This year, because the January-February surge was so bad, it will probably be № 3 once more. But never again after that. Too much immunity, not enough kindling left for another firestorm.

However, please note: with the exception of Alzheimers and freak accidents like lightning strikes, almost all those top 10 causes of death are abetted by risks some of us long ago rationally (or semi-rationally) decided to accept: smoking, drinking, overeating, driving, kissing, chainsaw-juggling and so on.

It’s Don McNeil, so read the whole thing. Just think, if Dean Baquet had any control over his young staffers, McNeil would still be reporting on COVID for the New York Times, instead of:

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