The virus is Boss. Building a new normal means accepting this. Denial is simply dysfunctional. Those waiting for silver bullets, vaccines, or the virus’s elimination drive themselves nuts. Such ideas get in the way of working up a new normal, which means learning to live with the virus contained, caught, traced. If and when vaccines are developed they may cause as much confusion, conflict, and horror as the virus itself.

Weeks have passed since the first version of this comment.  Now, as we sprint towards a post-Thanksgiving peak, we can only guess at the likely damage to life and ‘the economy’.

‘The economy’ is always and only what the situation allows. Look at what goes on in jails or refugee camps. Yesteryear’s ‘normal’ is not a good guide to what we do now, what we will eventually learn the Boss permits and facilitates.

Some will be able to bubble, a reprieve but no escape. Bubbles are human and flawed. The virus is neither and has its powerful combination of immense numbers, patience, and ceaseless vigilance. It is brilliantly fashioned to inhabit our talking species. Boss will have its way. Obviously the vast majority of us have no way to bubble. Eventually all of us will meet our new neighbor, maybe several times.

There is much we could do to fashion a new normal around our own ideas rather than the virus’s. One stupid message is to ignore it and ‘let rip’ as the considered response. Yes, RIP indeed. Perhaps the deepest damage is to young people’s education.

We do well to get over our hubris and embrace our neighbor for what it is. Widely available testing would help us get ahead. It is curious we cannot get this going given our scientists’ stunning capabilities in our super-tech age. In the end politics wins.  Vaccines will fall prey to those who interpret ‘freedom’ as a right to remain vulnerable and infect others.

As with masking, we are entering one of those history-shaping periods of being unable to co-habit with those of differing opinion. Many would rather traffic the infection than change beliefs. This choice is not the Boss’s, which does not care one way or the other. Caring is a quintessentially human flaw.

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