Friday, October 30, 2020

America’S Ranking

 Regarding Covid-19, there is quite a bit of talk about “herd immunity” lately. This is the view that the best response to the pandemic is neglect. That is, let the epidemic spread until a majority of the population is infected, after which most people recover and become immune. In this approach, mitigation measures are kept at a minimum; as is damage to the economy... and more people die. 

Sweden is one country which tried this route initially. However, when its Covid-caused death rate soared, it changed course. In the US, it is the Republicans and the Trump administration of course who advocate “herd immunity.” The president himself, having survived the virus, is more than ever convinced that the pandemic will blow over and that there is little need for major mitigation. 
Absent a vaccine, “herd immunity” can only be achieved if, say, 75% of the total population goes through the wringer (= catches the virus). But how many people die? 

I fervently hope that our nation does not throw in the towel, and does not resign itself to “herd immunity,” i.e. to accepting the current astronomical rates of infection and death as the new normals. 
However, our record so far is not promising.

Monday, October 19, 2020

An Immigrant’s America

By Madeleine Kando

In a poem le Rondel de l’adieu’, French poet Edmond Haraucourt writes the famous phrase ‘partir c’est mourir un peu’ (leaving is dying a little). It best describes the true meaning of farewell. Each time we say farewell, it is as if we die a little.

For me, even leaving on vacation feels a bit like dying. My old self is dying to make room for my new, yet undiscovered self. The thought of going shopping for a new self always brings a smile to my face.

Leaving has played a constant role in my life. I got my first taste of leaving when I was 4, when my parents left Hungary, the country where I was born, to settle in Paris.

Back then, I already considered leaving a place as something positive, like a soldier who adds stars to his uniform. The more places you leave, the higher you rise in the ranks. It was exciting and my age safeguarded me from seeing the risks that is always attached to leaving the familiar.

Since I settled in America, my last stop after so many moves, I have been trying to bridge the gap between two continents, like a giant standing on two floating icebergs in the middle of the Atlantic. If you ever tried to balance on two wobbling structures, that is how I feel about me living here in the US, but part of me also being in Europe.