Opinion | How Covid Changes the Way We Live

Many now fear a vaccine; a moviegoer won’t go to theaters yet; a doctor bemoans large weddings. But readers also see brighter sides: a renewed sense of community and innovative music offerings.

To the Editor:

How sad: A vaccine designed to protect America’s citizens may fail not because the vaccine is ineffective but because many Americans will refuse to be inoculated, fearing that it is better to risk their lives by being unprotected than by being duped by the false claims of an American president who is such a proven liar.

Not a failure of science, but of an American president’s leadership and credibility.

David S. Lifton
Las Vegas

To the Editor:

Re “Movie Theaters Returned. Audiences Didn’t. Now What?” (Business, Sept. 16):

I applaud theater managers across the country for their commitment to ensuring a sanitary environment for watching movies. Even if cinemas are as sterile as the white room at the end of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” however, I for one won’t be returning anytime soon.

That’s because I know that too many of my fellow moviegoers won’t be wearing masks once the movie starts. The co-author of this article, Brooks Barnes, said as much in a Times article last month: “Is that woman sitting nearby seriously going to watch the entire film with her mask dangling from one ear? (Yup.)”

Until the pandemic is gone, I’ll be watching new films like Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” not as they should be seen (on a big screen), but in the far safer space of my own home.

Bruce Weinstein
New York
The writer is the director of the documentary “Singing in Color.”

To the Editor:

As a critical care physician who has cared for patients with Covid-19 for the last six months, I am disappointed in The New York Times’s coverage of large weddings whose hosts and guests have seemingly scant regard for our well-being in the middle of a global pandemic.

A Sept. 13 Vows column describes a July wedding with 100 guests, no evidence of social distancing, and minimal mask wearing. One photo shows boxes of masks sitting on a cocktail table, seemingly untouched.

I empathize with readers who made the difficult yet responsible decision to cancel their own wedding this year only to see others celebrating without regard to Covid. I am also concerned for the health of catering and venue staff trying to earn a living while guests’ careless actions put them at risk.

I have taken care of too many patients I have been unable to save from this virus. It’s cruel to think that while I’m notifying families of a loved one’s death among strangers, others are out on the dance floor clinking champagne glasses among friends.

Katharine L. Modisett
Arlington, Va.

To the Editor:

I appreciated the way Kate Murphy pointed out some unavoidable aspects of the fallout from social isolation in “We’re All Socially Awkward Now” (Sunday Review, Sept. 6).

However, I think she overlooked something fundamental that my wife and I, in our community in North Carolina, are finding refreshing: Neighbors who would have passed us by without a glance in the past, as if we — or they — were invisible, have transformed into supportive and generous people, waving, smiling, even exchanging pleasantries.

I would not have called us a “community” at all before Covid-19. But now, I am finding that people — both friends and strangers — are eager, even hungry, to talk, and at length.

It is our new policy to stop and give people a friendly ear, to listen closely and not to hurry away. This is a great benefit of pandemic isolation: Our old routines of keeping to ourselves are crumbling and being replaced by a far more robust feeling of connection with others. It is a silver lining of these trying times, a rebirth of a warm, connected feeling of American community.

John Roevekamp
Durham, N.C.

To the Editor:

Re “Using Earbuds and a Pickup Truck to Say Hello” (Critic’s Notebook, Sept. 15):

It has become clear that what we have been going through and are still, unfortunately, going through is proving to be a watershed. We seem to have come to a mutual understanding, and maybe even acceptance, that before Covid and after Covid may never be exactly the same. And that “exactly” means better in some respects.

Two of many examples were brought home to me by Anthony Tommasini’s article about what the Philharmonic is doing during the pandemic. His account of listening to “Soundwalk” through Central Park along with the Philharmonic’s “Bandwagon,” a pickup truck that offers short outdoor concerts, are examples of innovations that should be made permanent.

These, among many other things we’ve done to adapt to our present catastrophe, should become part of our new normal.

Bill Kasdorf
Ann Arbor, Mich.

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