I went to a wedding yesterday, and on the drive from my house to the location of the wedding, I saw restaurants at full capacity, heavy traffic on I-635 (a loop around Dallas, for those not familiar), into the waiting room of a mechanic’s shop in which maskless people were chatting, and perhaps most tellingly, NorthPark Center mall’s parking lot was packed to the gills. It was refreshing. Add to that the fact that the PGA Championship and NBA and NHL playoffs all have fans physically in attendance, and it almost feels like 2019 again!
We’re So Close
We’re so close to normal. And it seems to be a good thing; not ahead of any sort of concrete medical schedule or against the advice of an overwhelming number of experts, at least. Earlier this week Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared the state buildings could no longer force people to wear masks. More capacity restrictions have been lifted in many states. And young people with Covid actually outnumber old people with Covid in hospital settings, which is a sign that older folks are getting vaccinated.
This last bit is especially important because, all other things being equal, young people are much less likely to die of Covid than older people are. That means hospitalizations may or may not continue to decline with the rapidity they are now, but that the number of deaths likely will continue to drop dramatically.
I reckon that by late June a lot of folks here in Texas will feel comfortable not wearing masks inside. I have been vaccinated, but I am continuing to wear a mask at any building that has a mask mandate because they, as a private institution, have every right to require a facemask. But I’m also trying to not wear masks in places that don’t have a mandate so I can get reacclimated with the idea of existing like that. And I think it’s important that we do that. I’m not going to get into a whole thing about this, but the Covid mortality rate was really pretty low. I know that a low mortality rate doesn’t undercut the seriousness of the disease, and that the scarier traits of the virus were the fact that no one knows anything about it and how highly communicable it is. But either way, the medical field seems to have a lot more under control now, what with vaccines, no more shortage of masks or breathing machines or hospital beds, and a better idea of how to treat people who have fallen ill.
It is my sincerest hope that in a month or so I can remove “mask” from the inventory I take before I leave my house. “Phone, wallet, keys….dammit, where’s my damn mask?” I’m looking forward to never saying that again. And I think it will generally be good for the country’s morale, which normally means good things for the country’s economy, which normally means good things for the world economy, so we should all be looking forward to no longer needing masks.
There are some things I’m hoping will continue after everywhere is more fully open.
For instance, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said he is not convinced that the virus’s origins are not malicious. (The hyperlink here goes to a FoxNews article; don’t complain about Fox. Grow up. The quotes are direct and there are other ways to confirm. I don’t like Fox, either, but I also don’t like CNN, and frankly if you’re taking the word of one news source you’ve already been duped anyway because they all have a bias and everything should always be independently verified as best as is feasible.) Basically Dr. Fauci says we need further investigation into the Wuhan lab where the Covid virus was being tested and stored. And I agree. It’s not rational to believe Chine would pay some sort of reparations to the world for the virus escaping, but at least there would be some modicum of accountability, and maybe other nations could use that as leverage to force China to work on things like pollution, since China is now responsible for 27% of the entire global emissions of greenhouse gases.
And I also think that Zoom and remote working/learning should stay around. I’ve written about this before in the context of practicing law, but I think there are much wider applications. Students who are sick would be able to remote in or whatever instead of watching The Price is Right and drinking ginger ale with their “fever” of 98.9°. Additionally, court proceedings that are either uncontested or are otherwise pre-trial hearings could and should continue to at least have the option of being done via Zoom. And remote work should continue. Allowing people to work from home would create less traffic on the roads, possibly bring down rent in office buildings, and allow valuable employees to move, conceivably, anywhere in the world and still contribute to their job if they want to.
I’m not a globalist. I think, by and large, that governments should not get too entangled with other governments on very many issues. But I am a proponent of global existence. I think it’s great that people might have the opportunity to travel more, to live in exotic places, and otherwise pursue geographical dreams without sacrificing a career opportunity. If more people could travel more widely, then perhaps we’d see that, social customs aside, we’re all just humans doing the best with what we have out there. That’s how you foster true globalism. Not government interference, but with person-to-person communication and being open to kindly introducing your culture to a visitor, in the hopes that you would be so treated in the visitor’s culture.
But enough Kumbaya stuff. We’re so close to normal. We’re in the home stretch of pandemic irregularity, and if we can just keep going for another month or so, I believe we’ll all be in much better spirits about the future. In the meantime, please don’t be rude to businesses that want to keep being cautious, and don’t start talking about constitutional rights in a McDonald’s, because McDonald’s is not a state actor and doesn’t have any constitutional restrictions on their dress code. Be patient, be kind, and in low times think of how great it’s going to be to show up at a crowded party in the fall to eat wings and drink beer and watch football with a group of TV-friendly, ethnically diverse friends, or at least pretend to for a stock photo.