Mann tracht un COVID-19 lacht (Man plans and COVID-19 laughs)

Mann tracht un Gott lacht.
Man plans and God laughs.
Yiddish proverb

Whether it is in one of the many nations that have responded admirably well to the pandemic or in one that has responded exceptionally poorly (like the U.S.) this much is true:

Detailed plans on how to make institutions and enterprises work—people pretending to make the rules—run straight into the wilful realities of the virus. COVID-19 laughs.

We do know some of the broad basics, and if we can manage to persuade or compel people to universally adopt best practices, we can make progress. But more complex questions, such as how to carry on in particular sectors of business and social life, are proving who and what are in charge.

Opening colleges, opening sports, opening college sports are much in the news, and are just a tiny few of the situations where brilliant scenarios appear good on paper but quickly come to look unworkable in practice.

We should continue to be aware, smart and conscientious. But we should also be prepared for our plans, even if we believe we know something and have thought of everything, to be abandoned. COVID-19 isn’t working with us. It’s laughing at us.