"'The virus is a wake-up call,' one of my doctor friends says, standing in a white bikini on a dock by the Oslo fjord."

"It is an early spring morning and we have just been for a dip in the sea, which is 4º C (about 40º F). Now we let wind and a bleak sun dry us off. 'We have messed up nature,' she goes on. 'We have exploited it in places we shouldn’t have been.' The ice-bathing club meets more often. We need the rush, the extracted inner heat that will keep us warm for the rest of the day. We strictly observe the recommendations of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health: no more than five in a group. Only meet outdoors. Stay one meter apart. 'We are all going to get it one way or another,' says Joanna, a cancer surgeon.... 'It is only a question of time. The strategy of the government is clear: Norway wants to curb the spread so that not too many get ill at the same time.'... A friend on my street is afraid of everything. Trampolines. Carbs. Falling stocks. Bank collapse. Losing control. But nothing scares him more than the Swedish model. Sweden is the only country in Europe to have imposed no rules of restriction. The schools are open, bars serve whatever you like, even fitness centers are functioning. With a population twice as big as Norway’s, the country’s death toll by end of April was more than ten times higher. Sweden has knowingly let a large part of the population get infected in order to achieve herd immunity before a vaccine is ready. 'What do you prefer? A country run by a government that listens to medical advice and takes the responsibility?' my anxious neighbor asks. 'Or the Swedish system of experts battling one another on thin ice?... What is solidarity?... It is for us who are privileged to observe the rules. What’s so bad about lounging on the sofa for a few weeks, anyway? Can’t we just be a bit careful? When did that ever hurt?'"

From "A Virus in the Neighborhood" by Åsne Seierstad (New York Review of Books).

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