What people say and what people do, when push comes to shove, are often very different both in politics and life. It’s something political circles have always called the truth that comes out in the voting booth.
People may say they’re for someone, or some thing, but when it’s just you alone in a room, there’s an odd rush of other priorities, opinions and deeper feelings that come out.
What you’ve told people you’ll vote for isn’t always what drives your vote, or what you actually end up voting for when you step in the booth. With covid-19, even for people who’ve embraced every key health and safety measure, as I have, I think many people are at a tipping point of emotions.
It’s lead me to a question I think many people would like answered.
In places where vaccines and boosters are readily available, at what point in society do we say: if you’re still unvaccinated, you do so knowing the grave risks. Why are we still holding our life back for you?
Pandemic To Endemic
By all indications, vaccines are making the pandemic – endemic for everyone who is fully vaccinated. Deaths have plunged thanks to vaccines and therapies, including new over the counter pills, so why are we still suffering?
I guess I’ll start by clearing the air and saying that I’m such a fan of science and the work of solving things for the betterment of mankind. Believing in the miraculous work of the last few years, I never questioned getting vaccinated or boosted and did both at first jump. And yes, I wear a mask whenever asked, too.
I also spent like 40 days quarantining over the last 2 years simply to comply with travel restrictions and always want to be a part of the solution, not the problem.
But I’ll be honest, beyond the obvious life and death – and helping “be the change we want to see” reasons, one of the reasons I got vaccinated was probably one most of us secretly share. I did so because I want to enjoy a better life again, filled with freedom.
I’m feeling like the promises of a return to normalcy are being somewhat railroaded by gamesmanship.
I really just want to take my daughter out to dinner, or on a flight without wearing a mask some day. I’m tired of flights being cancelled because of the ever changing travel restrictions, which fail to flesh out root causes.
I want other people to be ok too, but the current environment is dystopian with no sign of exit, even for people who continue to do their part, booster after booster and beyond. Will there ever be an exit?
I guess what I’m trying to say is, if you’re feeling like you’ve done everything you’ve been asked, and are feeling like life and the joys of travel haven’t unlocked the way it felt as if they were promised, you’re not alone.
I don’t want to be embraced by anti-vaxxers or anti-maskers, nor do I want to be one of the insanely “woke” live in a bunker and wear masks forever crowd. Both are insane, in my view. But, I’m at a point where my patience for ever changing restrictions both in my travel and my life is wearing thin.
I’m not necessarily saying the whole world should unlock, but more efforts should be made to reward those who have done their part, to restore life as it once was.
Most indications of omicron (so far) point to mostly mild to moderate cases at worst for fully vaccinated people, many of which are even asymptomatic. So why do so many countries continue to panic and ruin planned unlocks for society?
Unfortunately, many answers are inconvenient.
Like, once someone is seen to be doing something, others have to – for fear they’ll be attacked politically if they don’t too, even if it’s an incredibly dumb thing to be doing.
To me, this is somewhat like following a crowd at the airport to the boarding gate, even though you know the flight isn’t boarding for another hour. Once someone sees one do it, the flock can’t resist following.
Speaking privately to friends and professionals, most of whom I consider totally logical, rational and of a pro-science, pro-data and “let’s take care of each other” mind, it has become very clear that I’m not the only one whose patience is wearing thin with the flip flops.
Each day of government ineptitude (all over the world) makes me skew more toward libertarian view points, of sometimes “no rules” are better than idiotic rules. Here are a few key rubs, which seem to really agitate those I speak to.
Medical Research Funding
Compared to finance and tech, work in science is under funded – and often under appreciated too. I fully think that should change, but mechanisms being deployed to achieve that right now are annoying.
A friend who works in a senior position regarding medical research grants clued me into the fact that many studies take on dramatic or worrying tangents, specifically to elicit eyeballs, and therefore, more funding possibilities.
These studies often become media darlings, since they are able to push the worrying narratives that drive clicks. More on that in a second.
We need science to help us out of this, but many people will perpetuate fear to drive personal, professional or organizational goals. There’s more funding being poured into science than ever – a nice silver lining of the pandemic – but people don’t want to lose that, and fear is a great way to continually drive that.
I wish there was a better way to fund vital projects – not just with covid-19 – but ideally cancer and others too. Imagine if all the resources that went into covid-19 went into cancer?
Click Media Makes Peanuts, So You Need Lots
Someone browsing an article on the internet contributes on average about a penny to the organization providing the news or content. As a funny aside, it’s why I’ve got no time or customer service for complainers in my comments section.
Even a million page views might only earn $10k a month, which hardly pays for global offices and 100+ person editorial teams, let alone travel budgets. Make it to 10 million page views and you’re at about 100k, but that’s not really enough to keep the lights on for most media companies.
Therefore, there is every incentive to drive clicks, and nothing drives clicks like fear. I wish we lived in a world where good news traveled as fast as bad, but we don’t – and that won’t be changing any time soon.
The same is a sad reality for traditional broadcast media. Every eyeball counts, and historically, the worse the news, the better the eyeballs. Good news rarely “sells”.
Yet Another Political Football
The exit from pandemic to endemic will become a hot button political issue, no doubt, and will be yet another thing which shouldn’t be political, yet is passed around like an oiled up football on a hot day.
Cynics in the US and Europe already suggest that mask policies will drop just in time for the next major election cycles, but not likely before. I don’t like to be cynical, even when life tells me to be, but if this happens, I will be forever impacted as a voter.
I remember when President Biden told people not to worry about whether the person next to them was vaccinated, because if they were themselves, they’d be largely fine, even in the case of breakthrough infection.
I fully back vaccines, based on all data indicating that they continue to mitigate severe disease or death, and believe that’s largely still true. But, it’s no longer the message we hear, at all.
You can’t tell people they can take their masks off indoors and not worry about others, because they did their part, then take all that back.
I don’t bother engaging people who refuse to wear a mask on the train, or the plane anymore, because I believe in vaccines and the protections I have through them, and actually believe these people are just looking for a fight to stimulate their otherwise (miserable) lives.
The dumb people of society who were having raging orgies and indoor raves in the early stages of 2020 never stopped. We created rule after rule, policy after policy and the people that needed to hear them never heard them, nor did it deter them.
Yet, the people who were doing the right things already continue to be punished, for the sake of the unvaccinated and uninterested among them. It’s not a fair conversation in places with low vaccine prevalence, but in my respective areas of the US and UK, it’s the truth.
Somehow, we’re all in the same group, being pandered to by governments as if we’re young school children, and need permission to cross the road. In my opinion, there’s only so much “good faith” the public will continue to have, if things don’t change.