The politicians who have rushed to reopen their economies would have fared poorly on the Stanford marshmallow test. In that well-known experiment, children could have one reward immediately or two rewards a little later. Those that could delay gratification generally went on to have far more success in life. The varying responses to COVID-19 bring this classic finding to mind. The haste to get people shopping and businesses humming for a possible short-term economic boost sacrifices the economy in the longer term. In the end, the quick pursuit of the old “normal” delays reaching a new “normal.” The governments that have best controlled COVID-19 have delayed economic gratification for the sake of public health. New Zealand, for instance, patiently beat back the disease with an extended, science-driven lockdown. A long-term outlook that rejects myopic greed will be essential for eradicating COVID-19 and myriad other challenges the world faces.