Esquire (USA) : 2020-06-01

20 LIVES, 20 PERSPECTIV­ES : 57 : 57


THE SMALL-TOWN LEADER JUDITH NISSULA Cascade, Idaho The town’s population 1,000: The town’s tagline “IDAHO’S YEAR-ROUND PLAYGROUND”: Early on, we had I hope people As I’ve looked We are a very My worry, People are like, Some people wonder Shortly before the pandemic, Nissula applied for Cascade to appear on a new HGTV show called The premise: to renovate an entire community in need. Home Town Takeover. “IT WASN’T CLEAR THAT THIS WOULD BECOME A PANDEMIC. PEOPLE WHO SAY THAT—THAT’S REVISIONIS­T THINKING.” THE ONE WHO CALLED IT HELEN BRANSWELL it might take time for it to adapt to efficientl­y infect people. The thinking would be that if you saw something early enough—and it looked like the Chinese had seen it pretty early—that you might be able to get a handle on it if you got rid of the source. apparent that by the time people thought this thing had zero problem moving from animals to humans, it was already a human pathogen. Boston Date she first publicly mentioned the virus, on Twitter “Hopefully this is nothing out of the ordinary. But a @ProMED_mail posting about ‘unexplaine­d pneumonias’ in China is giving me #SARS flashbacks.” Number of COVID-19 stories she’d written by the time Trump declared a national emergency, on March 13 DECEMBER 31: HER TWEET: L AT E R , I T B E C A M E 41: clear that this was going to be a pandemic. People who say that—that’s revisionis­t thinking. “Well,everybodys­hould have been focused on being ready.” Before then, probably. I do think people moved too slowly. I also think there was some denial involved. IT WASN’T IMMEDIATEL­Y today about Ebola. It’s the first time since January 7 that I’ve written about anything that wasn’t COVID-related, if that gives you any indication. based in Toronto, and I covered the SARS outbreak there, in 2003. Even now, I can remember the points at which things happened in that outbreak. To the date. I struggle to remember if something happened in like January or February; it just all seems like one long month. It’s been a bit of a blur. Time has melted. of the emergence of a new disease, there’s good reason to think that I WROTE A STORY YOU MIGHT SAY, I USED TO BE whenChinal­ockeddown Wuhan [on January 23]. They were effectivel­y crippling their economy. Nobody does that if you can avoid it. IT BECAME CLEAR W I T H T H I S O N E , While on a walk one evening in April, Branswell photograph­ed the figures that make up the Boston Women’s Memorial, which includes this sculpture of Lucy Stone, a nineteenth-century suffragist and abolitioni­st. “They were all wearing masks,” Branswell tweeted. “Which is more than I can say for a lot of the Bostonians.” —As told to Dave Holmes AT T H E B E G I N N I N G 57 SUMMER 2020