In late 2019, I had a business partner in Seattle who was entirely unproductive for most of a month. He said he had a nagging respiratory illness. For a guy in his early 30s, this didn't seem like a particularly good reason to go dark as part of a two-man team working on a startup. He never sounded like he was sick, but said he had chest congestion and a cough. The only time I heard him cough was right after he said that, and it sounded like a fake cough to assure me that he had a cough (though I believed him).

We met up in early 2020 in Denver at the Joint Mathematics Conference and I asked if he might have had COVID, and he had a weird reaction where he shook his head and declared "No" as if I'd asked if he approved of molesting kids or something.

I had to fire him in March 2020 when too much time had gone by and he was unproductive---particularly for a Stanford comp sci major with past Google credentials. I've thought back on that experience many times and think he had COVID in late 2019, but refused to accept the possibility that the narrative was wrong.

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