In Washington and the media, the pandemic is, alas, being taken over by extremists. They demand that we choose A or B, the virus or the economy, locking down or setting free. But while they rage and clash, the future will probably be won by Pandemic Pragmatists, who blend and balance both priorities to keep going in the shadow of COVID-19.

The Pandemic Pragmatists understand certain realities. First, the novel coronavirus is, for all intents and purposes, here to stay. Treatments will be found to ameliorate it. A vaccine may be developed to protect against it. But like the various strains of influenza and the human immunodeficiency virus — and measles and chickenpox, for heaven’s sake — it might be tamed eventually, but not soon eradicated.

David Von Drehle writes a twice-weekly column for The Post.

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