Edited: This morning I received one of the nastiest comments I’ve ever received while running this site for the past 9 years (and considering that there were two other comments this morning that called me a bitch , and another who said I should die, that’s saying something). Sarah in Canada who says I should have used my platform to warn everyone that the coronavirus is going to North America instead of giving people bad advice: I warned my family, I warned my friends, I have it School community warned my kids, as much as I did, a non-expert who only knew as much as anyone else who was following the news might know. People thought I was overreacting and crazy, so I tempered how much I warned here on this site, considering how slandered I was here again and again, and given the very different places people were in read this site and because I have my own knowledge had many limitations and I didn’t want to make any public proclamations about something that I couldn’t possibly be 100% sure of, especially if those proclamations would affect people’s vacation plans and who knows what else .
You think I should have told a letter writer over three weeks ago that she shouldn’t go to Disneyland instead of giving her “bad” advice on following the CDC’s travel recommendations? You never even said She wanted to go to Disneyland! Read this letter again if you have to. And what I knew three and a half weeks ago – when I answered this letter – wasn’t even the same as what I knew two weeks ago. Italy was not where we are in New York three and a half weeks ago. China has certainly underrepresented the effects of the virus there. And yet, believe me, as a relationship advice columnist, I was required to “use my platform” to warn everyone about what’s to come. How could I have known how bad it would be if experts didn’t even know it? You still can’t tell us for sure how bad it will be, where it will go next, or when this will end.
I woke up this morning to find out that over 100 people have died of coronavirus in my city in the past 24 hours. FEMA sends 85 refrigerated trailers to hold bodies for which the morgues are already too full. We are likely to have 1 -2 million confirmed cases here next month and that the president will reject the ventilators we urgently need. And then I read your comment – you in Canada with your great health care and compassionate leaders and paid sick leave and, God, so many more benefits that we don’t have here – you have the audacity to tell me that I had a commitment to do this take care of YOU, take care of others – the same people who had the same access to the same messages that I read all the time. Now, as we New Yorkers say: fuck you. Fuck everyone who leaves bad comments here every day, I’m really fed up.
Like so many, I am desperately overwhelmed – overwhelmed by the concern for so many loved ones, my family, my friends, my children, my city, my country and our economy, our livelihood and our democracy. And I’m desperately frustrated and desperately angry, and something just has to give. And so it has to be this side for a while, because lately I’ve just been feeling crappy instead of bringing meaning and joy and feeling like I’m making a positive contribution. The combination of my feeling of being more vulnerable than usual and the increase in hostility and super aggressive and hateful comments really made me sad. So this will be my last post for a while as I retire and focus on my family, teach my kids at home, check in and connect with loved ones, contribute to my community in every way possible and try to stay healthy. This break is long overdue and I hope it gives me the perspective I’ve been missing for some time. I leave the forums open for the time being and wish you all the best. I hope you stay healthy and healthy and your communities are spared the worst pandemic.
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