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Some unexpected pleasures of the pandemic

I know I am not alone in the pursuit of one of my pandemic indulgences, because the racks of packaged hot dogs at my supermarket are often seriously depleted.

I hope my doctor is not reading here, but, honestly, it seems like there are more important things to think about now than the amount of sodium in your diet. I had almost forgotten the great pleasure of a grilled dog in a toasted bun with yellow mustard and sweet green tomato relish.

I don't mean to set aside the suffering in a worldwide public health crisis that is now claiming an American life at the rate of something like every 80 seconds.

And I believe some of the worst is yet to come, with Congress unable to agree on continuing unemployment mitigation while a new wave of foreclosures, evictions and small-business failures almost certainly loom on the horizon.

Still, it does seem there are some things to be thankful for.

First, while America sadly ranks at the bottom of the developed world for its pandemic response, we in Connecticut live in one of the safest states.

It is hard to undervalue that accomplishment, orchestrated by Gov. Ned Lamont, who rose admirably to the challenge, and carried out so successfully by our friends and neighbors.

I know it is easy to scold the mask scofflaws, but there really aren't that many of them here.

I've never been more proud to call Connecticut home. We've made it to this good place, one of the safest in the country, together.

I have heard some recent rumblings from inside the Electric Boat shipyard, where early lockdown protocols were not so good, about the lack of consistent mask wearing and social distancing. I hope that's not true.

But eastern Connecticut is fortunate to have its major employers up and running successfully and with apparent good health during the pandemic. One casino has reported only one case since reopening.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo sneered that Connecticut casinos better get reopening right, as they forged ahead of Rhode Island's reopening plans.

Evidently they did. Kudos to them.

And now anyone spending more than a day in Raimondo's state must quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Connecticut. Looks like she didn't get it so right.

It is certainly too early to be smug. Our school reopening plans and restarting team sports seem like the top of a slippery slope. And the long-dreaded flu season, complicating the pandemic, is almost upon us.

But August sure looks a lot better than March did in Connecticut.

The first wave of protests after the George Floyd killing, in the midst of a crippling pandemic, made me wonder how we could do both, rise up against systemic racism and respond to a once-in-a-century public health and economic crisis.

Turns out the country can do both. The parallel fights are underway.

I doubt whether, without the strange environment of the pandemic, which had already exposed so much social and racial inequity, we could have made as much progress as we have in at least acknowledging the degree to which so much racial injustice has festered unresolved for so long.

Another pandemic pleasure for me is the turn we have seen in Connecticut's fortunes, with surprisingly strong revenues during a pandemic.

More encouraging is the busy real estate market, especially in Fairfield County. Those million-dollar houses flying off the shelves don't seem like a pandemic quirk. Those represent strategic long-term investments in the state.

The numbers aren't in yet, but Connecticut, which depends so heavily on the fortunes of Fairfield County, seems to be turning around the suburban exodus, as New Yorkers rediscover the pleasures of a backyard.

I don't think anyone could have predicted such good news back when we began locking down.

Of course, it's not over yet.

Don't tell my doctor, but I may stick with at least a limited hot dog regimen for a while longer, maybe until there's a vaccine.

This is the opinion of David Collins.


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