Covid Is Over, If You Want It
There's virtually nothing stopping people from resuming their pre-Covid lives, but the argument that we can't still won't go away.
I’m Michael A. Cohen, and this is Truth and Consequences: A no-holds-barred look at the absurdities, hypocrisies, and surreality of American politics. If you received this email - or you are a free subscriber - and you’d like to subscribe: you can sign up here.
If You Build It, They Will Come
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Earlier today, I dropped off my kids at a public school open all but one day of 2022. This afternoon, I’m meeting someone for a beer at a bar in the West Village. Tomorrow night, I plan to head to Radio City Music Hall to see Courtney Barnett in concert. On Sunday, I’m going to a card show in North Jersey (yes, I do some uncool things), and that night I’m tentatively planning to see another concert.
I’m not bringing this up to brag about what a busy social life I have (this is easily busier than 99% of my weekends, but hey, there’s no football to watch). Instead, I’m telling you this because I’m getting increasingly annoyed at shit like this:
I am so tired of these kinds of arguments, whether it’s coming from Nate Silver, Josh Barro, or Bari Weiss. The fact is if you want to live an active social/civic life, you can choose to do so — even in the Northeast. Schools are open and so too are afterschool activities. Restaurants and bars are serving customers. Concerts and sporting events welcome fans. Museums are open. Broadway shows are taking place. You can go to the opera or the ballet. Are there inconveniences like mask-wearing or showing proof of vaccines? Sure, but these are hardly onerous restrictions.
Those of us choosing to live like this are not doing anything reckless or harmful to others. I’m triple vaxxed, don’t feel sick, and wear a mask when required. I’m abiding by the city’s public health rules. And while I genuinely hate wearing a mask, it seems the least I can do when around other people, at the tail end of the Omicron wave.
Here’s the other thing about Covid: if you’re still worried about the virus and don’t want to resume an active social/civic life, you can do that too. On Monday, a friend and I spontaneously met up for a late-night drink. He’s still a bit skittish about Omicron and insisted on sitting outside. So bundled up, I had a couple of Manhattans and caught up with an old friend as we sat outside under heat lamps. The week before, I had heat lamp dinner with another friend who was not yet ready to return to sitting inside.
Almost two years into the pandemic, how you deal with the risks of Covid is increasingly a choice that individuals get to make on their own. The other day I overheard two people talking, and one mentioned that they’ve only been out to dinner once in the past two years. I think that’s kind of crazy, but hey, different strokes for different folks. His decision to limit his social life affects me not one bit.
I’m in no position to tell other people how they should feel about Covid and how concerned they should or should not be — and that goes double for the Biden administration. Everyone has a different level of risk tolerance. While it may be the case that “Northeastern liberals” view the situation differently than, say, white men in diners in Ohio, that’s neither here nor there. It doesn’t prevent me from enjoying my life. If anything, the states and local municipalities that don’t have mask mandates or vaccination requirements for large public events make it more difficult for people to resume normal civic and social life. They are making such decisions riskier. When I attend a concert this weekend, I know I’ll be in a room full of people who are fully vaccinated. That makes me feel far more secure.
The now oft-heard argument that Covid-Karen liberals are preventing the country from returning to pre-Covid normalcy is straight-up bullshit. It’s yet another polarizing talking point born out of partisan animus or smug moral superiority. The biggest impediment to normalcy is the people who frustratingly refuse to get vaccinated against Covid and are primarily responsible for the fact that the daily average of deaths from Covid is more than 2,600.
I can assure you that the real problem is not people who won’t relax about Covid. Maybe the people who can’t seem to handle the fact that not everyone views Covid the same way they do, need to relax.
The title of today’s newsletter is a reference to this lovely John Lennon song.
This also feels like a fitting number today!
Living in a state where it's impossible to go shopping where everyone is masked, or dine where proof of vaccination is required, and being in my late 60's with recent health concerns, I envy people who live in communities where elected officials and individuals make decisions that mitigate risks for people with real concerns.