Matthew Walther appears to have lit up the Atlantic's website with his essay "Where I live, No One Cares About COVID." What he writes is quite true about most of America. Nearly everyone outside of a few major cities and, I believe, especially vaccinated people, have decided they have already done their part and the pandemic is over for them. They have made a calculated decision to return to normal life in a world where there is a noteworthy new endemic disease and a slightly higher risk of dying in any given year.

You don't believe me? Look at footage from any college football game this year. Those people are close together, and they're not wearing masks.

I got my second Pfizer shot in May. I may get a third shot, now that I can. Vaccines are easy — you get them, and then you can stop worrying. But like most of the people where I live, in Boise, I'm out of the bubble now and not going back in for anything.

I'm not happy that my state has the second-worst rate of vaccination (last I checked). It means more people are getting seriously ill when they inevitably get infected. But me? I'm vaccinated. I did my part to protect both myself and them. If at any point I had the coronavirus, it was a mild case that I barely noticed. So I'm done. It's someone else's problem now, and I don't have to keep pretending it's mine or living my life with the irrational fear of a completely surmountable problem.

I'm not a fanatic about this. I carry a mask in my pocket in case I'm around someone inordinately fearful of the virus, or in case it's the polite thing in the place I find myself. There aren't many places left requiring masks, though. My mask rarely has to come out of my pocket.

It seems that only students at certain schools and employees of certain restaurants and major national retailers are being forced to wear masks around here anymore. I don't even know of any place where customers still have to wear them. And most of the workers are obviously half-assing it — they sling the things around one ear, leave their noses sticking out, or pull them down to talk to you. Everyone nominally complies with company mandates, and everyone turns a blind eye.

While at an airport over Thanksgiving, one of the last places where masks are truly required for everyone, I reasoned that I should be able to wait for my flight at a restaurant, where I could pretend to eat a meal for a couple of hours and stop pretending that this disgusting, spit-drenched piece of cloth on my face is making anyone healthier.

Judge me as you will, but for most people outside New York and Washington, it's been like this for the better part of a year. Having been vaccinated, and with my whole family vaccinated, it's just kind of surreal to read New York Times coverage that implies everyone is still in a panic the way they were in March 2020. When I see President Joe Biden on TV wearing a mask, it's like a time machine leading back to last year. In most of the country today, COVID procedures are irrelevant, kind of like the laws against double-parking in D.C. (if you live there, you know what I mean) and "Don't Walk" signals in Manhattan.

Every indication is that we are all going to get the coronavirus every year from now until the end of time. Better to be vaccinated so as to avoid severe or protracted illness, and let's make those treatments more available for those who get bad cases.

But beyond that, most people are just done with it. It's time to accept the elevated risk levels of the new world we live in — unless we also intend to stop crossing streets or driving cars.