An outdoor Covid-19 mobile testing site on the streets of New York City.

Four years of Covid-19. A total of 1.165 million deaths in the United States. As of December, we were averaging about 1,500 deaths a week from Covid. These numbers may seem abstract to many, but I remember a scientific paper from early in the pandemic that estimated “for every Covid-19 death, approximately nine surviving Americans will lose a grand­parent, parent, sibling, spouse, or child”­­—which means 60,000 Americans were left grieving for the holidays.

Public health is about trade-offs between risks and benefits, just like personal health. Think about your own life: We all weigh the pleasure of that second glass of wine or extra slice of cake against the calories we know that pleasure will bring. And I’m not judging here, as I make these same decisions daily. (Give me that chocolate chip cookie.)

Yet I am not quite sure we’ve ever had an explicit discussion about the collective trade-offs we’ve made when it comes to Covid. As the […]

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