Welcome to the dystopian future, when government officials are ephemeral figures that appear only on computer screens, finding food entails risk and the few souls who do venture out into an uncertain world do so with covered faces.
The hottest commodity is toilet paper, so much so that it could become the preferred medium of exchange, as in two-ply legal tender used to acquire scarce supplies and services.
Even though these absurd apocalyptic science fiction scenarios do seem somewhat appropriate under our current covid-19 circumstances, they do not really apply.
It is true that few people alive today have ever seen anything as unsettling as this pandemic, but the difference between fact and science fiction is that these films usually feature a small group of heroes who prevent humanity’s collapse.
Real life, however, has thousands, maybe millions, of heroes. Many of them work in grocery stores, where, despite the risk, they continue to see that we can feed ourselves.
Others work in fulfillment centers that supply online shoppers, while thousands more work in hospitals and medical centers, at communications companies, at fire, rescue and police departments, and in government offices.
These are the people who allow the rest of us to work from home, largely out of harm’s way. They deserve not just our thanks, but also our continued respect long after this episode is over.
Most striking is the calm and logical approach of our state and local governing authorities. They have set the tone for our reaction to this madness by making difficult decisions and taking common sense actions as publicly as they can, given their technological capabilities and limitations.
While they might not have been prepared for this specific crisis, they have always prepared for assorted worst cases, with their often maligned reserve funds and emergency response plans.
We hate to see these things employed, but we are gratified that they are working as intended.