The heatwave continues. Going outside is like walking into a hairdryer. People teeter in the street, sweat staining their masks. The pandemic has stretched from a blip into a season and now it’s the way we live in America, checking the infection curves and color-coded maps each morning like the weather. The seven o’clock cheers faded long ago.

Five years ago, my father and I spent eleven months far from home, waiting for him to receive a lung from the VA hospital. Lately I’ve been thinking about something he said: “At first, the uncertainty was bearable because it was a new kind of uncertainty, but now it’s familiar and that makes it worse.”

What will be the long-term effect of this national humiliation? Each day feels dumber and more dangerous. A headline said bird attacks on Americans are on the rise. Fair enough.