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Denise and I have eaten out for lunch most weekends since the mid-1990s. I remember well the moment in mid-March 2020 when, while sitting at lunch, I saw a news item reporting that pre-symptomatic COVID transmission had occurred in China. That was the writing on the wall for me. I knew it was going to be a pandemic and told Denise that we needed to stop eating out. For many months, we only ate meals cooked in Denise’s kitchen. Last fall, we relented and started carrying out Chinese – or Japanese – from our favorite Chinese restaurant. For 54 weeks, now, we’ve religiously followed CDC recommendations. No eating out, no discretionary travel. Discretionary travel is the only traveling we do at this late stage in our careers.

In our opinion, following the CDC recommendations is a civic duty. This arises from our view that following them is not only about avoiding contracting the disease. It is more about not spreading it. The pandemic’s repeating waves of infections and deaths would have been largely avoidable if the public had had enough sense of civic duty to follow CDC guidelines. Nearly two-thirds of a million Americans are dead, largely because we lacked the collective self-discipline to do the right thing. From the outset of the pandemic, the CDC has been subjected to increasing censorship as the months went by. Yet it was still possible to discern the message. Now, they are once again free to offer science-based guidance. On 4/3/2021, they announced that fully vaccinated people could safely fly again.

As for Denise and me, we continue our ritualized carry out meals at home. It is not really a terrible price to pay to make our civic contribution to preventing the fourth wave.

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