Earlier this week, we wrote about Matthew Walther’s piece in The Atlantic entitled, “Where I Live, No One Cares About COVID.” Walther wasn’t trying to downplay the disease; he was just observing that where he lived, in rural southwest Michigan, people went about their lives as normal. A lot of people couldn’t believe The Atlantic would publish such an irresponsible piece and said they’d canceled their subscriptions.

We bring it up because Sarah Jones, in her piece in The Intelligencer, entitled “Nihilism Is the Other Variant,” brings up Walther’s piece, as well as his religion. She writes:

I am sick. Not with COVID, but with a cold that unsettles me the longer it lingers. What a strange time to be sick with anything at all. To feel ill, now, is to be in sync with misery beyond your own person. The whole country is sick, with Omicron, with fear, with hate. We move toward something new, something terrible. “I don’t mean to deny COVID’s continuing presence,” wrote Matthew Walther in The Atlantic, a load-bearing sentence. “What I wish to convey is that the virus simply does not factor into my calculations or those of my neighbors, who have been forgoing masks, tests (unless work imposes them, in which case they are shrugged off as the usual BS from human resources), and other tangible markers of COVID-19’s existence for months — perhaps even longer.” Eight hundred thousand people are dead, more will die soon, and Walther, a devout Catholic, says nothing of grief. Such nihilism invites a question: Will God forgive us?

We hope Jones gets well from her cold soon.

Jones also lists Biden administration policy failures on things like climate change and the compensation of illegal immigrant families separated at the border. “Climate change will come for all of us,” she writes. “The virus, meanwhile, spares a remnant, but their survival has nothing to do with holiness, and the fate that awaits us all hasn’t yet taken shape. It could be life. It could be more death. We must choose.”


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