How They See Us August 2, 2020August 5, 2020 As fat, for one thing. Here’s Bill Maher suggesting we get ourselves together — how much would it cost a family of four to serve water at meals instead of soda? — not least because our odds of serious illness or death from COVID would fall so sharply. Watch. Here’s how young Europeans see us. . . . [They’re] shocked to learn that the American government does not guarantee social protections that citizens in other advanced economies take for granted. . . . Four minutes. A little funny; a little sad. Here’s how people from around the world see our COVID response. Seven minutes. South Korea recorded its first case the same day we did. By this past Saturday, they had had 301 deaths to our 157,278. Sweden took a controversial approach but — if I’m reading this table right — they had just 40 serious or critical active cases on Saturday, to our 18,685. So in the long run, their approach may not prove to have been so dumb. School-age children are far more likely to die from the flu than from COVID. So especially in cities like New York, that have succeeded in reducing hospitalizations to a new low, the question is not how much risk parents are willing to expose their kids to, but how much risk they themselves are willing to take. One can imagine many young healthy parents reasonably deciding to take the risk of allowing their kids to go back to school — even as elderly and/or otherwise vulnerable parents are strongly urged not to. As for teachers and staff, the current position of the teachers union is that no teachers should take any risk on behalf of the kids. I am a huge fan of teachers and of unions; but my own view is that extreme positions on any side of a difficult issue rarely represent the least-bad trade-off. As always, it’s worth noting that we never should have been in this awful mess. But we are; so what’s the least bad way to proceed? BONUS: Ninety seconds, wherein a nice city councilwoman admits she was going to vote against mandatory masks — freedom! — but has changed her mind. Without saying so, she reminds us (see Bill Maher, above) that we also need to eat better and walk more. Have a great week.