July 31, 2021

ANDREW SULLIVAN: Let it Rip: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Live With The Virus.

I’m double-vaccinated. The chances of becoming sick enough to be hospitalized are extremely small; the chance of death, none at all. My friend who first texted me is super-fit (as are most of the young torsos who show up that week), but he’s also my age (weirdly enough, he’s the same friend I went to stay with when I first tested HIV-positive in 1993). He endured a nasty week of a fluish bug: the kind of thing that happens without any plague at all. Just part of the inherent risks of being human on a planet that does not belong exclusively to us. . . .

So let it rip. The one silver lining of plagues in the past is that, at some point, they blew themselves out, by creating herd immunity. What we have done with Covid is greatly slow that process down. We did so for good reasons — because it would give us time to get a vaccine, and because a full-scale epidemic would overwhelm the healthcare system. But now that we have several vaccines, and can adjust them from time to time, and the healthcare system is not on the verge of collapse, the logic for lockdowns and masking has completely disappeared. . . .

These viruses challenge the psyche, and the trick, it seems to me, is not to deny their power and danger, but to see past them to the real goal: the living of your life. If you are not careful, this one viral threat can crowd out all other perspectives, distort your judgment of risk, and cause you to be paralyzed by excessive caution and fear. But defeating a virus often does mean living with it. We already do this with the flu. There’s no reason we can’t do it with Covid as well.


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