The Pandemic is Now Effectively Over in the US, But the Politics of It May Never End

Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images Imagine if there was a war which was never declared over, not because it wasn’t won, but because many of t...


Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

Imagine if there was a war which was never declared over, not because it wasn’t won, but because many of those in power, including the news media, wanted it to last as long as possible. In many ways, that is the current situation with regard to the Covid pandemic.

In much of the United States, the pandemic is now, regardless of what you are being told by those with a self-interest for this “new normal” to maintained, effectively over. (If you don’t want to believe me, just look at what even the notoriously pessimistic University of Washington projections are saying.) The data and the science make this conclusion exceedingly obvious, but there has been almost no public rejoicing, and life in much of the country is nowhere near back to normal, especially in our public schools, which we now know should never have been nearly as impacted as they have been for mostly political reasons.

When this nightmare began over a year ago, and we were being told the big lie that this was just going to be “15 days to slow the spread/flatten the curve,” there were two basic metrics by which the state of the pandemic were supposed to be defined. Are our hospitals at risk of being “overwhelmed” by serious cases, and are the number of people dying significantly higher than what would be considered “normal”?

By both measures it could not be more clear that, especially now that about half of adults have been vaccinated — and many more have immunity from getting the virus itself — while vulnerable people should obviously still be careful, there is little reason for life not to be essentially normal in the U.S. right now. While there were times that the hospital system was severely tested to the limits, general hospitalizations in the country as a whole are now at perfectly normal levels.

Similarly, we know now (because it takes about two months for the data to be sufficiently compiled) that in mid-March the total weekly “excess death” rate for all deaths in the United States, for the first time since the pandemic began, was within the range of what would be expected if Covid did not exist. It is certainly possible that, even as relatively low as the around 600 daily Covid deaths is in the USA currently is, that, because of the pool of “active cases” is still technically incredibly large (well over 6 million) a percentage of even that slowly diminishing number of daily deaths are now as a result of people simply dying naturally, probably at very old age, “with Covid,” which is why the is no longer evidence of significant “excess deaths.”

However, much of American life has not come close to returning to where it was in early 2020 (when, we now know Covid was already in the U.S., especially here in California, and hardly anyone noticed). Even the CDC’s rather tepid and, in my view, overdue loosening of masking requirements has seemingly been met with more criticism than praise, at least from the frighteningly large portion of the nation which seems to view their magical mask mandates as a child might feel about a security blanket being taken away.

If this ever really was about “science,” it very obviously no longer is. This bizarre “limbo” period we are now entering, where our deeply divided nation lives it two totally separate worlds, based on fundamentally different views of reality, with one’s position on mask-wearing symbolizing whether you think we are living in 2019, or in 2020, and if you are even aware that the Texas Rangers baseball team has been playing in front of regular home crowds with no known issues dictating your view of whether we grossly overreacted to all of this.

This issue was crystalized with the results of a poll out this week which may have been the most striking and telling that I have ever seen in my almost forty years of watching political surveys. According to a Morning Consult poll, there are almost no “normal” activities in which a solid majority of Americans would feel “comfortable” engaging at this point, and none — not even dining at a restaurant — allow an overwhelming number or respondents to feel at ease.

As shocking as that result is (and as much as it illustrates just what a massive mind-screw the outrageously one-sided news media coverage of the pandemic has inflicted on about two-thirds of our population), it is nowhere near as stunning than the reality that people who have been at least partially vaccinated are far LESS “comfortable” engaging in “normal” undertakings than those who have NOT yet been vaccinated. In other words, those who are the least vulnerable to the virus are still currently the most incapacitated by fear of it.

Now, to be fair, there could be some mitigating factors to explain these seemingly nonsensical responses. Trump supporters and younger people are less likely to be currently vaccinated, and they, for various reasons, may also be less afraid of the virus. While the group of vaccinated people is dominated by liberals and older people who, due to many different causes, have not been shy about expressing a strong sense of anxiety over almost anything going back to the pre-Covid era, regardless of the newly optimistic tone from the overtly liberal and usually very wrong CDC.

Politically, this leaves us in a strange tug of war when it comes to getting back to normal. The science is clearly telling us that the coast is clear, but the strongest supporters of President Joe Biden and influential blue-state governors have made it obvious that they simply do dare to budge from their safe space.

Since the pandemic has been used by Democrats to finally institute their dream of real socialism in America, they are in no hurry to see this exceedingly useful crisis come to an end. Meanwhile, no blue state governor, not even Gavin Newsom who is facing a recall election here in California where the pandemic has been over for several weeks but where schools will not fully open at least until fall and mask mandates are still not relaxed, is ever going to voluntarily give up the dictatorial powers granted them, seemingly into perpetuity, by this endless “state of emergency.” (For the record, one of the many issues on which the news media has catastrophically failed in the last year is that of the limitless suspension of democracy for a situation which has been an emergency for a fraction of this time period.)

For over a year, Democrats have been lecturing and ridiculing Republicans about how they are the party of “science.” However, they are now rejecting the science in favor of the politics of fear. Consequently, those of us who don’t live in Florida, Texas, Georgia, or South Dakota, may be caught in a vicious political cycle where we are forced to pretend the pandemic is not really over, one from which there is no easy escape.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.



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Newsrust - US Top News: The Pandemic is Now Effectively Over in the US, But the Politics of It May Never End
The Pandemic is Now Effectively Over in the US, But the Politics of It May Never End
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