lot can change in a year and a half.
In December 2019, I had dinner with Jimmy Lai, the billionaire founder of Apple Daily, a popular broadsheet in Hong Kong. One of the perks of my profession, I have had occasion to dine with a life’s share of political celebrities. But you never forget a meal with a man who could buy you hundreds of thousands of times over wearing dread for the future so plainly on his face.
As it turned out, Mr. Lai was simply ahead of the curve.
The next 90 days would see the reality of COVID-19, which was certainly already live in Asia when I saw him, transform from regional nuisance into international calamity. Travelers coming from the region would still joke about their coughs in journo salons in Washington and New York.
“This is not a major threat to the people of the United States,” Anthony Fauci of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Greg Kelly. “The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s a very, very low risk to the United States,” he told John Castimidis.