Initially, as the current virus crisis looked to spread to America, I was calm, reflecting that as a child I remember the polio epidemic in Rapid City in the mid-’40s and rationing books during World War II. Clear in my memory is a bag of white oleaginous substance containing a small orange pill that, as a treat or possibly my contribution to the war effort, I was tasked to crush and knead until the mystery mass, aided by imagination, became a butter substitute.

Later as adults, we lived and worked in the tropics of west Africa in the specter of Lhasa fever and cholera. There and in Indonesia we experienced regular and large shortages of food, or cooking oil

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