To use his words, he thought the birdemic measures were "the right thing for the wrong reason".
Well, it's now more than two years later, and the birdemic hysteria has waned here in Hungary. Though murmurs about masks and pecks still linger here and there, barely anyone wears masks and no one, not even the government, talks much about pecks anymore.
Nevertheless, it seems lockdowns will be making a comeback, albeit in an altered form. Instead of ordering people to lock themselves into their homes to protect themselves from a "dangerous" virus, the government and other sectors of Hungarian business and society are planning to lock themselves up and lock people out due to prohibitive heating and electricity bills brought about by the "energy crisis".
For example, my place of employment recently reduced its operating hours and work week. Come December, it plans to shutter all but two of its campus buildings for the better part of two months.
Theaters, baths, hotels, restaurants, municipal offices, post offices, schools, and yes, even hospitals have all announced that they will either significantly reduce their operating capacity or close up shop entirely until spring.
A few wags on the radio are already beaming about how much all of this closing down and locking up will reduce Hungary's carbon footprint.
I'm sure my colleague is elated. Still, I wonder how his elation will fare when it is pitted against a crisis that makes nothing better but just keeps getting worse and worse and worse and worse . . . until . . .