With equal measure of lively wit and solemnity, former New York Times columnist Laura Pedersen powerfully recalls the unprecedented events of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lest the dizzying rollercoaster ride of the pandemic become a blur of press conferences, toilet paper shortages, and, more seriously, a stupefying loss of life, Pedersen details 2020’s events, bringing new insights to its intensity. The author, a seasoned New Yorker, writes that as Covid spiraled from faraway China into a plague that ravaged the U.S., “the Democratic party urged people to remain inside, [while] the Undemocratic Party reveled in spring break, indoor weddings, birthday parties, and church services.”
Meanwhile, she muses, retail curbside pick-up gave new meaning to “drive-by” in New York City, and “We suddenly switched from Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) to Fear of Going Out (FOGO).” She observes that “the city that never sleeps went to sleep.”
Pedersen alternately evokes tears with hard facts (New Yorkers dying of Covid every other minute) and laughter regarding the new normal (coping with “Covidiots”).
In addition to evoking appalling images of exhausted health care workers and refrigerated trucks serving as morgues, Pedersen skillfully recalls the year’s political polarization, blazing wildfires, police brutality, dire civil rights concerns, and Capitol insurrection, among other events. The intersection of these with the pandemic, she asserts, inexorably elevated the nation’s collective anxiety.
Many problems remain. Yet, quoting Kahlil Gibran, she notes: “You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link. This is but half the truth. You are also as strong as your strongest link.”
Pedersen writes from a decidedly left-wing bent, deftly condensing the year’s events to remind readers that 2020 was unprecedented by most standards. Her work helps us reconcile feelings of anxiety and dismay by validating our shared experience. Moreover, she accomplishes this all with great humanity.
it’s come to this is a must read for anyone trying to make sense of our tumultuous year.
Also available as an ebook.