You need to understand that to really grasp what comes next if — as is likely — Thanksgiving is a

Covid in America is so bad that more than 250,000 people are dead. So bad that 9 of the world’s top 10 hotspots are all American states. You’d think that given all that, Americans might have chosen to stay home for Thanksgiving — but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Millions of Americans are already travelling to see their families, stay inside with them, mix with friends — which is literally the worst thing you could do during a pandemic that’s spun badly out of control. Meanwhile, a President who’s lost the plot is golfing and or trying to steal the election, instead of lifting a finger.But then I started to accept that some people inevitably wouldn’t like me. So instead of getting worried about people who didn’t want to be my friend, I began to focus solely on the people that did.Imagine it. Millions of people travelling. Crammed into cars, buses, airplanes. Stuck in airports and train stations. Overheated, unventilated places. Boom. There’s rarely been a more perfect way for a pandemic to spread, at least in the modern world. How many of those are likely to become super spreader events all of their own?

So instead of seeing “waves” of disease, the shape of Covid in America ended up being the weird hump-backed chart that you and I know. It’s eminently incorrect to think of this as three “waves.” Waves fall. What they really are are three tsunamis — each piled atop the last. Covid hit America like a series of floods — which never receded. The next simply piled atop the last, until, by now, the entire country’s waist-deep in disease.

It’s not too hard to see how this is likely to happen, and I’m not exactly being paranoid. Epidemiologists and scientists of all kinds in fact are predicting something just like this. Only there’s not really a word for what happens when half a country pretends like a pandemic doesn’t exist, and carries on with life as usual — during the holidays. It feels to me like Thanskgiving in America is going to be something even beyond a super-spreader event.

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Maybe this bus route becomes its own mini super spreader event. Maybe that airline flight does. Maybe that whole airport does. Perhaps that bus station does. Maybe this home goes on to infect a whole block, which infects a town. Perhaps that mall or that cafe or that grocery store becomes one. Maybe combinations thereof reinforce each other. People on this bus route infect each other, who all go home and infect their families, who go to the mall for Black Friday, and infect their whole region. Boom. Multiply that five, ten, fifty times over, and you’ve got a hyper-spreader event.

“Hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.”

All of a sudden, I realized that a better life was possible. And in doing so, I developed the confidence to mold my personality into someone that I was proud to be. Like Barack Obama once said:

“Where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words — yes, we can.”There will inevitably be times when you question why you’re chasing your dream in the first place. But do you want to know the quality that separates people who achieve success from people that don’t? Perseverance.

That shape strikes us as so unnatural in the modern world because we are used to seeing waves. Waves are what we should see, because we have tools and understandings that people in previous eras didn’t have. For many diseases, we have vaccines, and where we don’t have vaccines, we understand how contagion spreads, and so we know how to — very effectively — limit disease, too. The “wave” is something that strikes us natural because it reflects a scientific understanding of how to fight disease.

But we didn’t see waves in America for a very simple reason. Nobody much really fought Covid. I know that strikes Americans as harsh, but to the rest of the world, it’s eminently true. Trump denied it, minimized, told people to drink bleach, and then golfed. Meanwhile, a huge portion of America followed his lead, and pretended Covid didn’t exist.

To understand, you’ve got to think about the peculiar pattern of Covid in America. It has a grim, weird, ominous shape to it — something profoundly unnatural, at least in the modern world. America didn’t have “waves” of Covid — as in patterns of disease that rose, crested, and fell. Other countries had those — successful ones. Covid in America never fell. So Covid followed this strange humpbacked, stair-stepped shape. Three exponential rises, three plateaus. What does that signify, portend?I used to have a lot of difficulties when it came to making new friends. Whenever I thought of approaching someone, I immediately assumed they wouldn’t be interested in talking to me.So I stopped being afraid of rejection and began to concentrate on what I could do in the present moment to meet more people. Within a matter of weeks, I found myself having a much better social life than I ever thought possible.

Contrast that with, say, New Zealand — where Jacinda Ardern called upon “team New Zealand” to unite and not just fight the virus, but wipe it out. Yes, it’s true that there are many brave and noble scientists and healthcare workers. But they are very, very much in the minority. As a society, America did as little as possible about Covid. The President denied it, and society as a whole was revealed as incapable of cooperating to stop it.

Let me explain what I mean by “hyper-spreader event.” A superspreader event is a term that many of us have come to know all too well. You can think of it like a cluster of a disease being newly incubated, that then goes on to fuel a new phase of the outbreak, infecting a city, town, state, region. A hyper spreader event is a series, a group, a whole set of super spreader events.


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