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Image: Aeneas and His Father Fleeing Troy by Simon Vouet

By Ben Reinhard, Crisis Magazine, March 23, 2020

Ben ReinhardThe nation has been treated to an uncanny spectacle over the past few weeks. Schools and businesses closed in the face of the Wuhan flu, and public health officials urged all Americans to stay home and practice “social distancing” to slow the spread of the disease. But as anxious families braved supermarket lines to stock up on staple foods and household goods, the young and unattached queued for an altogether different reason, packing the bars of New York, Washington, D.C., and other major cities.

On the one hand, there is nothing at all unusual about hiding from mortality in drink and revelry. “Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” is of course as old as the Gospels, and both The Pardoner’s Tale and In Taberna give medieval witness to the same instinct. When we drink, as the song says, we don’t care that we are dust. And, indeed, the available data suggest that the disease poses relatively little risk to the young and healthy.  ….

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