Statistical and anecdotal evidence suggest that if you are elderly and want to survive Covid-19, you should move to a red state. Here in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has imposed few restrictions, yet somehow we are not dropping like flies. The Sunshine State in fact is well down the list of places where the pandemic is alleged to be winning, but it is surely not because we are tightly locked down and masked 24/7. To the contrary, everyone who lives and works here is free to do pretty much as he pleases, subject to the test of common sense. I suspect there are millions of us who wear masks not because we are persuaded that the science behind them is correct, for it is muddled at best, but to be polite and to humor those who think a loosely attached, cotton face cone purchased from CVS could somehow shield one from Covid’s submicroscopic, infinitely clever airborne spores. Life goes on hereabouts in any event. Outdoor concerts and street fairs, though not explicitly forbidden, are few and far between not because we are afraid of outdoor crowds, but because promoters fear they’ll lose money on such events.
In my gated community, the three golf courses are more crowded than ever, and nearly all amenities are open, including dining rooms, fitness center, salon, neighborhood swimming pools, pickleball and tennis courts. Not everyone chooses to use them, however, and some neighbors, including one of my oldest friends, are so paranoid that they will not even touch a ping-pong ball or billiard cue that has been handled by someone else. Science tells us that Covid does not transmit very well on surfaces; but better not to touch anything at all, some evidently believe, than risk dying from contact with a contaminated ping-pong ball.
The average age of residents at Hunters Run exceeds 70, and so there are some sensible in-house restrictions that everyone follows. One of them is a quarantine regimen that requires all visitors from out of state, even family, to get tested twice for Covid, the second time 72 hours after getting here. Although I’m skeptical myself that the tests are useful other than as a placebo, I have followed the rule myself because I don’t want to risk being at the epicenter of some contact-tracing witch hunt that stigmatizes family and friends.
I feel sorry for my New York and California friends and siblings because lockdowns there have turned great urban centers, notably San Francisco and New York City, into economic and cultural dead zones. Still worse is that they have made people who live in those places deathly afraid of a virus that few of us who dwell in the vast red spaces of America’s political map worry about. Because many of us will choose not to be vaccinated, at least not right away, the Pfizer/Moderna rollout is guaranteed to produce an edict to the effect that if you have been inoculated, you get to proclaim it to the world with a brightly colored armband. Cuomo will be the first to display his, and, unmitigated asshole that he is, he will flaunt a waterproof version that can be worn in the shower. In deep-blue states where Fauci and Bill Gates are wildly popular, they may take the additional step of providing digital implants to speed sheeple who have had their shots through ubiquitous checkpoints bearing the Windows logo. Red-state denizens can take heart, since such excesses are certain to spark a popular uprising or even a civil war. That’s assuming, of course, that a Boris Johnson-style, Tier 4 lockdown hasn’t done so before then.