While thinking about the coronavirus, I was reminded about a short story (a fifteen minute read) by Edgar Allan Poe titled “The Masque of the Red Death.” A fictional country is being ravaged by a horrible disease called the Red Death. The ruler, Prince Prospero, is living a life of comfort within the walls of his abbey. When the country is half depopulated, he invites a thousand of his friends and followers inside the safety of the abbey and bolts the doors. Alas, spoiler alert, after six months of partying climaxed by a masquerade ball, they discovered that the personification of the Red Death has pursued them inside and it is too late.
Instead of listening to our leaders blame foreigners, their predecessor, and the other political party, we need to let the medical experts do their jobs and follow their advice: Avoid large crowds; Practice social distancing; Follow proper hygiene; and stay off airplanes and cruises. Above all, if you are feeling ill, self-quarantine and call your doctor instead of going to the