Tag Archives: the atlantic

Coming to Terms


“You’re likely to get the coronavirus.”

That was the headline of an article in The Atlantic that caught my eye way back in February before the world entered into an impressive barrel roll. The author, a physician who lectures at Yale School of Public Health, quoted a Harvard epidemiology professor who said, “I think the likely outcome is that it [COVID-19] will ultimately not be containable.” The Harvard prof guessed that “40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Sobering, to say the least. But then there was this:

The emerging consensus among epidemiologists is that the most likely outcome of this outbreak is a new seasonal disease—a fifth “endemic” coronavirus. With the other four, people are not known to develop long-lasting immunity. If this one follows suit, and if the disease continues to be as severe as it is now, “cold and flu season” could become “cold and flu and COVID-19 season.”

I haven’t been able to shake that early prediction.

Of course a couple of weeks later we all learned phrases like “flatten the curve” and “social distancing” and then there was Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic and now a few months later American Idol is broadcasting from living rooms while ESPN featured the 46th Annual Cherry Pit Spitting Championship. So we’re all a little dizzy.

But I keep thinking back to that article from February and wonder if we should consider that COVID-19 might be here to stay.

Another headline recently caught my attention: “Scientists fear the hunt for a coronavirus vaccine will fail and we will all have to live with the ‘constant threat’ of COVID-19.” Consistent with my nagging thoughts, David Nabarro, a professor of global health at Imperial College in London, was quoted as saying, “…for the foreseeable future, we are going to have to find ways to go about our lives with this virus as a constant threat.”

So, how is your day going so far?

I may be unconvincing when I say this, but I’m not writing to depress anyone. Quite the opposite. Instead, I deeply believe that the greatest psychological danger is to ignore reality and that coming to terms with the journey ahead is the healthy approach to life.

In my humble opinion, while continuing to focus unprecedented attention on protecting the vulnerable, we must also determine how to rearrange our lives to carry on with COVID-19 in the neighborhood because, like the common cold, it is possible that it is not going away anytime soon.

Greater Than Self

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Earlier this week, Good Morning America did a short spot on Martin Passeri, a champion surfer from Argentina who lost this year’s national surfing competition for a pretty cool reason: Passeri spotted Nicolas Gallegos, a thirty-eight-year-old paraplegic sitting in his wheelchair on the beach and invited him along for the ride. Gallegos reportedly never learned to surf due to an accident at age eighteen, but thanks to Passeri he rode with—and like—a champion in the national competition.

On my flight back from Chicago last evening, I read an article in the most recent edition of The Atlantic with the provocative title, “Why It Pays to Be a Jerk.” The article considered conflicting research on where “nice guys” actually finish—first, last, etc. In the end, despite the title, author Jerry Useem concluded that “being a jerk will fail most people most of the time” with an important rationale: “Jerks, narcissists, and takers engage in behaviors that satisfy their own ego, not to benefit the group.”

Passeri lost the competition, which can further the argument that nice guys don’t finish at the top. But I contend that we all instinctively know that Passeri’s willingness to care for another above himself was a championship move.

I propose living for a cause greater than you. Whatever your current struggle, whether studying for a bar exam or struggling in a tough job or facing a health challenge, don’t let the struggle be as pedestrian as a struggle for your own benefit: Consider how your struggle might benefit others.

To quote Tagore, “I acted and behold, service was joy.”

[Check out a little video footage of the Passeri-Gallegos ride HERE.]