Saturday, March 28, 2020

Leftovers

Putting yesterday’s savoy cabbage with pasta into the oven, I make some al forno with a glass of Masi Campofiorin as I rediscover “La Peste”. Set in French Algeria, it is a book I remember reading decades ago, long before the Great Flood filled my friend’s basement in Malmö and washed away so many of my books.

Rien n'est moins spectaculaire qu'un fléau et, par leur durée même, les grands malheurs sont monotones

Or, in Elsa Thulin’s translation:

Men saken är den att ingenting är mindre synligt för ögat än en hemsökelse och att stora prövningar blir enformiga just genom sin långvarighet

Already in the early days of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic, the notion of "behavioural fatigue" came up and I think it may very well turn out to be a determining factor, especially if the death toll can be kept manageable in the coming months. There is clearly a paradox at play here, that the better our measures succeed in “flattening the curve”, the less people will be willing to support those measures. Maybe if the situation becomes significantly worse in other comparable countries, support may remain strong, but since almost all OECD-countries are currently in near full lockdown-mode, this is probably not going to be the case.

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