We can’t beat this thing, writes Kat Rosenfield. Just as during WWII, when Americans were being asked to plant Victory Gardens, to collect scrap metal, and to carpool to save fuel, today’s propaganda implores Americans to just try harder, to follow the rules. Together, as Americans are continually scolded, stop acting up so we can beat this COVID thing,
But therein lies the problem, claims Ms. Rosenfield in Spectatorworld.com.
The notion that we could literally stop the spread of COVID by locking down and vaccinating it out of existence was always a fantasy.
National Geographic recently noted only two diseases in recorded history that affect humans or other animals have ever been eradicated: Smallpox (humans) and Bovine virus (animal).
Every other virus, from Ebola to Influenza to the Bubonic Plague, “still exists among us; we’ve just learned to live with them, and to control them as best we can through inoculation, preventive measures, and treatment for those who get sick,” reports Ms. Rosenfield,
Flu Season Gone Missing
What used to be “flu season” is a good example. Each year, the flu “ripples” through the populous. Some get very sick. Some die. Yet, as Ms. Rosenfield points out, we don’t assign a moral element to flu season.
But COVID — and more specifically, the messaging around it from our authority figures — changed how we conceive of our relationship with viruses. All those months of being told to mask up, stay home, and keep our distance have instilled in a fearful population the seductive illusion of control.
We’ve been led to believe that if we just care enough and try really hard, we can stop getting sick and save lives. Suddenly, the only moral position is to do everything within your power to avoid illness, no matter how extreme, no matter how much it disrupts your life or hurts your livelihood, no matter the brutal costs it might exact elsewhere. And if you get sick anyway? This is somebody’s fault. Someone, somewhere, did this to you.
Pitting the Public Against Each Other
Last week, America’s favorite epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned ABC viewers that those who get infected with COVID, even those without symptoms, may infect another vulnerable person.
“So in essence you are encroaching on their individual rights,” intoned Dr. Fauci.
The Scapegoats – the Noncompliant Villains
But this is the flip side to our being deluded that we can control our way to zero COVID, argues Mr. Rosenfield.
Those who dissent, who express skepticism, who want to question the rules instead of simply following them? They’re not just asking questions; they are ‘literally killing’ people.
This type of rhetoric may have been a morale-booster amid lockdowns, mask mandates, and the COVID death count banners that have become part of the permanent landscape on every mainstream cable news channel. But it’s hard to overstate how unwise it is to inject blame into the conversation about an airborne virus.
Fauci Spreads Fear Faster Than COVID
The pandemic has already decimated our ability to assess and tolerate risk, as our public health authorities keep offering mixed messages on everything from masking to school openings to the effectiveness of the vaccine.
But comments like Fauci’s do something worse, injecting a toxic, corrosive element into the heart of the social contract. A society in which people fear and mistrust each other is a society that cannot function. This is what we risk.
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