Therapeutic State

Ending Covid in the Two Americas

By Declan Leary, The American Conservative

I was having lunch last Wednesday with a friend in a bar in my hometown, and he started chatting with the bartender, who had been in his high school class. The bartender was saying that he had worked there on and off during college, then came back for good “when Covid ended.” He clarified immediately: “So, about a year ago.” Hearing that was surreal—Covid had not ended at all where I now live (in D.C.), and certainly not an entire year ago.

By “Covid,” of course, neither he nor I actually meant the particular coronavirus that made its way around the world in 2020 after (likely) leaking from a research lab in Wuhan. We meant everything it had caused—or, perhaps more accurately, every injustice big and small for which it gave the ruling class a pretext. School closures, economic shutdowns, mask theater, vaccine fanaticism—these, more than the flu-like symptoms that can do real damage to vulnerable patients, define Covid for the vast majority of us.

Apparently, all of that came to a close a while ago back home. I’m not sure I saw a single mask the entire week I was there. Even in the winter off-season, the waterfront district where we were eating was pretty heavily trafficked. My 76-year-old grandfather came over for Thanksgiving dinner the next day, and lived to tell the tale. Besides that one offhanded mention by the bartender, I don’t think Covid came up once in conversation during the entire visit.


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