Kathmandu, Aug 19
I don’t really miss lockdown. Life in London is fairly open these days and it feels pretty great. I like leaving the house more than once a day. This weekend, my partner and I went — masked, of course — to a museum. The week before, we ate at a restaurant with friends and sat inside. It was glorious. But here’s what I do miss: the clarity. There wasn’t much to do from March through May, but we didn’t have to do much moral calculus, either.
We were all supposed to stay home to stop the spread. And we did our part — or at least most of us did. Now things are much messier. But messiness is what’s in store for all of us. “For the foreseeable future we will be living in a world with some level of coronavirus out there,” Elisabeth Rosenthal, a doctor and a contributing Opinion writer, says in an Op-Ed today. “So if we want to get out of our bunkers, we all need to take stock of our risk tolerance.” Libby is counseling caution, not “Covid parties.” But she recognizes that people will have to make tough choices (and, she notes, doctors make these kinds of choices all the time) based on their own health, the prevalence of the virus, who they might expose.
This is going to be our reality for a while. Of course, containing the pandemic can’t be put entirely on individuals. Governments, and the policies they set, ultimately have the power to flatten the curve. That’s why it’s important to follow the guidelines — and hope you’re lucky enough to live in a place with competent leadership. (Whether we have that here in Britain is an open question.) But as I sat inside the restaurant, celebrating with friends we hadn’t seen in a long time, the risk — for me, at least — felt acceptable.