Does it seem like some people really don't want the pandemic to end?
I saw this last night and I had to think about it before I commented.
(1) Yes, there are people who can't stand to see the pandemic end, though how many there are and how many others are just enabling them because they don't want to be accused of being insensitive or not appropriately cautious or wanting Granny to die, I don't know. But between those two groups, it's a large enough share of the population to make all our lives miserable.
As for the second, I think the "theory" is multifaceted and has to do with a few things, outside of the obvious, which is certain people have gained immense amounts of power through this and it's an easy "if it bleeds--or gasps--it leads" for the media:
(A) We cannot deal with aging, illness, and death. It's not that we necessarily look down on people who are experiencing those, but we do try to hide them away. As a personal matter, the idea that we are going to age, we are going to be ill, and, yes, we are going to die is something people can't wrap their heads around. They will do anything to avoid it, including giving up their lives and hiding, so basically exchanging living for surviving. I chalk a lot of this up to our culture's emphasis on youth and the fact that we no longer are intimately involved with extended family. We prefer to put our elderly in assisted care or nursing homes than to bring them into ours and watch their lives end and realize that's where we all end up, and it's just nature, but even age, illness, and death can be important stages.
(B) People *need* purpose. If they can't find purpose, they will make purpose, in healthy ways and unhealthy ways. We used to find purpose through the simple act of surviving from day to day (scratching a living from the dirt) or religion. But religion is losing its value, and most people no longer have to struggle to survive (think Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs). In an effort to find purpose and make life meaningful, people give outside meaning to otherwise meaningless things, like COVID, and lose the ability to do a rational cost-benefit analysis. Many of us work meaningless jobs, just a warm body, we're not close to our families, we don't build up large groups of friends like we used to, and most of us don't even have large extended families. We just have our jobs, our TV, and our social media. Enter COVID to bring our purpose back--an illusion of "just surviving" that takes us back to our digging in the dirt and avoiding the predators days.
(C) It's become a religion for some people. I don't know how to say it any better than that. The "saved" are the ones who follow the rules, worship the CDC and Fauci, and are willing to sacrifice anything to save even one elderly person who is already dying of ten other things and the "damned" who aren't willing to sacrifice the education of the local children to save themselves, even though they themselves are elderly. This goes back to B but it also ties into D.
(D) We live in a strange culture that values fear and victimhood. We could talk about this for hours, but look around you. Just one example, we made elderly people die alone without the company of young people who had less of a chance of succumbing to COVID than being blinded by their own tears and walking out in front of a bus. And we *valued* that. We saw that as making a valiant sacrifice. It wasn't. It was cruelty of a repulsive nature, but very few pointed it out. But you can also see this in the reaction to "good news." I mean, you have to go to "crazy right wing" sites to actually see that Omicron isn't that deadly or that natural immunity works or that *gasp* even in the early days not everyone who was exposed to COVID got it. These were all good news, but you were evil if you pointed it out because we value fear.
(E) This has less to do with people and more to do with our medical system. Our medical system, bar none, is the most expensive in the world, and even before COVID it was inept. Everyone has at least one "war" story of dealing with it. Hospitals are chronically short staffed, doctors are chronically over worked, and patients are chronically ill-served, and underneath it all is greed and corruption that goes unchecked because, well, everyone wants to live and feel good (even if not be healthy, which are two different things) and you can kill as many customers as you like because there will always be more. In 2017, Johns Hopkins did a study and they decided that in any given year between 250K and 500K people die as a result of medical malpractice, most of it misdiagnosis. I remember New York hospitals being strained during the flu season. One of our own local hospitals routinely runs out of beds in the same season, and we're a hub of two large systems. The medical industry (Big Pharma, Big Med, etc.) sucks money like a vacuum and offers not even consistent competency in return, and no one--and I mean *no one*--tries to make it accountable. Look at ObamaCare. What did it do? Go through and eliminate the waste in the medical system, focus on preventative care and diet, set up programs to train more doctors and nurses and break the strangle hold higher ed has on entry into that class? Did it look at tort reform or patent laws to alleviate the costs of medicine and procedures? Nope, none of that. What did it do? Make everyone buy insurance and the taxpayers foot the bill for those who couldn't afford to pay into this giant abyss of fiscal waste and greed. COVID would not have been a problem had our medical system been worth what we pay for it, but it's not, and the last thing they want you to do is notice that, so they have a vested interest in keeping the "pandemic" going and they have an outsized influence in the media and politics.
Those are the five reasons I have. I'm sure others can pinpoint more.
I'd also encourage you to look of a Dr. Robert Malone and his talks on "mass formation psychosis." You may have already heard of him, but it's worth a listen.
I may have a helpful perspective on this, as my wife is a writer and is on one of those women writers group lists/chats (mostly journalists and novelists and screenwriters, many of whom are well known, all of them living in NYC/LA/SF).
The first thing to note is that the Covid freakout follows on the Trump freakout (both of which were intensified by the Floyd freakout).
Something possibly historically unprecedented (if that is poss) happened to the upscale-urban-liberal thinking class when Trump beat Hillary: it seemed like literally overnight every person we knew who used to be a cynical Big City libertine was transformed into a neurotic scolding dogmatic raging Puritan whose entire purpose in life was now the complete destruction of Trump, the Republicans, and all their voters (well, that and policing thought and demonizing heretics). Team Blue (esp its most fervent believers) has basically been undergoing a single nonstop monumental nervous breakdown since Nov 2016.
So to get to your questions:
When I listen in on these writers' chats, the level of COVID terror is both bizarre and hilarious/disturbing. If you just woke up from a 2-yr coma you would think they were describing the Black Plague. And listening to them discuss Omicron, you would think that Richard Ramirez the Night Stalker was just spotted on the block.
So my answer to question 1 is YES, not only do I perceive it, but from my perspective, I just don't see this ending anytime soon and I'm not quite sure what can break this fever, maybe either Trump dying or a massive Republican landslide. COVID now is another battle in the Culture War, so if they can't destroy their opponents and have them banished from society, there will have to be some way for them to back down and save face.
As for question 2, some more guesses at the causes:
It seems that Team Blue is addicted to fear, enjoys being addicted to fear, their fear makes them feel righteous and a much better person than the non-fearful, and their entire lives are about neurotically signalling all the proper beliefs.
Also, Twitter has turned the blue-check caste into perpetual raging toddlers who throw a tantrum whenever they don't get their way, and (this might be the root) they really deeply believe that their degrees, hipness, literary and culinary tastes, fancy jobs, and most of all their obviously bulletproof and superior morality gives them the divine right to tell the rest of us what to do, how to live, think, etc etc.
So I wouldn't get my hopes up about this hysteria fading anytime soon--but hopefully I'm wrong!
I have a friend who had the self reflection to actually verbalize her reasons, although she may not be representative of the majority. Her and her family are basically introverts anyway, so staying home in pajamas and ordering in while watching movies and working over Zoom is like heaven to her. Her pay remained the same plus they got stimulus checks, so she's making more money for less effort. Her social life consisted of social media for the most part anyway, outside of our monthly game night, and now that wasn't considered sad but normal. She's felt stuck and without meaning for awhile but now life was exciting. They were brave crusaders living through a historic pandemic!
Now that it's ending she has to go back to her sh&*y job, commute, make less money, seem sad for having no social life, and also no more exiting narrative to backdrop it all. She's just a middle age, tired, women stuck in a mediocre job/marriage not really living up to social standards living in average times.
I know which world I'd prefer to live in if I were her.
Neurasthenic mob rule. World ending with a whimper, indeed. Too many "educated" people--for two generations now--have had absolutely meaningless jobs they pretended were careers and far too many women got what they said they wanted--soft caring vulnerable men who now bore them to frantic tears. This is the most excitement they've ever had in their lives and it ain't so thrilling, but it gotta do...
Don't underestimate the degree to which a "crisis" gives people license to be abusive and cruel. I'm not screaming at strangers on the street and on the Internet that they're all pieces of shit who should drop dead, I'm...screaming at strangers on the street and on the Internet that they're all pieces of shit who should drop dead because I'm HELPING. Is it my fault that I care so much?
Spend ten minutes on Nextdoor.
In my small town and in my family, the people who have always been a little abusive, a little nasty, have spent the last two years taking a flamethrower to people who don't comply. WHERE'S YOUR FUCKING MASK, YOU PIECE OF SHIT!?!?!?
Imagine how good that feels, if that's what you like to do to other people. It's pure pleasure – why would they want to stop?
1) Yes, with some reservations. I think people who are all in Covidians (as I call them) basically want to be told what to think. That and they do not know how to admit they might have been wrong all along about any number of things, from lockdowns, to masks, to the vaccine. They just don't have any idea how to walk any of that back because, as has been noted, if you get somewhere without using reason it is impossible to reason your way out. And, 2) I think my initial response answers number 2, though, there is an underlying tension that relates to the unworthy and existed before Covid: those deplorables who voted for Trump and don't believe in science must be punished/banished/excoriated. There seems to be a subconscious desire by many (in North Berkeley, for example) to sadistically punish that imagined population.
Doubt my responses leave much room for debate but I thought, what the heck, someone might get something from my words. I never thought that any measures could be taken to stop the spread of the virus and that the right thing to do was to protect, or try to protect, the most vulnerable.
2. For many people, the pandemic is (was, heh heh) the biggest thing in their lives, for a variety of reasons:
a) Virologists and epidemiologists have never before been so important, have never before received phone calls and e-mail from the media. When the pandemic ends so will all this attention. So it is no surprise many of these people (scientists are people too, though this would apparently surprise the witless humanities graduates in the media) spent the last 18 months exaggerating the effects of the virus and thus their own importance; and it is no surprise they don't want this to end.
b) The media want clicks, and nothing besides wars and Trump gives them clicks like Covid. My news feed is all COVID all the time. What will they do for clicks when the pandemic peters out?
c) As I said above, this is the biggest thing ever to happen in many people's lives. Fretting over the pandemic, publicly masking up and tweeting about their vaccination jabs, it gave millions of people meaning for otherwise drab lives. Except that almost everyone had friends and loved ones in very serious mortal danger, I bet there were more than a few Americans who didn't want WWII to end, for the same reasons.
d) The Nazis demonstrated how powerful a social and political sentiment is to define and vilify the Other. With the unvaccinated, we have a modern Other that clearly too many people find pleasure in persecuting. The sort of person who enjoys the endorphin boost he gets from openly hating unvaccinated people will never want that to stop.
e) The COVID Industry obviously never wants this to end. I don't just mean Big Pharma (though they will be the biggest losers from a return to normalcy), but the cottage industry of COVID consulting and related commerce, plus the politically connected firms that have benefited most from the showering of taxpayer dollars onto the economy will also try to keep this going as long as possible. Matt Taibbi says he's writing a book about this. The Homeless Industry has the same incentives, that it would be destroyed if we ever actually, you know, solved homelessness (the $40K+ per homeless person San Francisco spends annually on "homelessness" certainly isn't being paid to the homeless themselves).
f) The control freaks and professional nannies at all levels of government have never had it so good.
Anyway, yes, according to what I've been seeing (outside the mass media) for the last month and a half, Omicron signals the end of the (medical, if not political) pandemic. This has been indicated for more than a month, and every week's numbers make it more likely.
I'm spending a week at a trade show in Vegas this month, if it doesn't get cancelled. I have every expectation of coming home with omicron. It's no big deal.
I think Holly the Math Nerd gets it right. She claimed in a recent piece that the split between Americans is best described as those that trust our government institutions and those that don't. I have a pretty even distribution of friends and family politicially and I see this in most issues. Concerning Covid, those on the left trust Fauci, the CDC, the NIH, etc and don't question them. They don't dig on their own like many of us do. CDC says wear a mask so they wear a mask. For me I wondered what the CDC was basing that advice on and found out it's a handful of observational studies and that they downplay the many RCT studies saying the opposite. I mention this to my friends on the left (typically the ones that trust our institutions) and they pretty much think I'm akin to an anti vaxxer (I'm boosted, BTW) - how could the CDC be wrong? Scott Atlas will tell you how, but of course he's a heretic!
So I think it's complete trust in our institutions and the associated "culture" that comes with those that do. Mush those together and you have a religion. Bottom line that's the only way this makes sense to me. It's simply a religion that dogmatically goes against everything the "other" side believes. Going back to my earlier comment, if the other side is starting to question masks, they reflexively double down. If the other side thinks Omicron could be the off ramp, they push back. And of course everytime they turn on CNN, MSNBC, or read the Post or Times, it's like going to church...
In addition to all of the other perceptive suggestions here, I think there's some amount of sunk-cost fallacy at work. I still remember how the initial phase of lockdowns and masks was predicated on the assumption that it might be possible to eliminate COVID entirely. Two years on, if it's endemic and has evolved to be a nuisance rather than a danger, well, then we didn't win did we? We didn't defeat COVID, COVID defeated us, and I think for a certain type of person admitting that the pandemic is drawing to an end would be tantamount to admitting that all the neuroticism and hand-wringing and worry was for nothing. We have to keep going until we "win," otherwise what was the point?
Never underestimate the human need to feel important. COVID has given a lot of people ways to feel important, powerful, and superior. They won't give that up easily.
I was just saying this to a very liberal wine mom friend. Most parents in our school district seem quite content to keep masking our kids in schools indefinitely. No off ramps. Just keep doing it to “keep the community safe.” My viewpoint is that kids have paid a very high price. And with vaccines and treatments, let’s let them live! It seems to me that many are almost addicted to covid and the fear. I see some people in the medical field writing on FB pages their thoughts- it’s like they are revered in a way they weren’t previously and they like it. I also think that some people truly believe they don’t have a date with the virus- even tho I believe everyone will meet it one day. But for those who believe they can avoid it, they want others to “do their part” to slow the spread. Someone said it’s like a leaky faucet right now... and at some point, we need to just turn on the water to fill the glass (ie, reach endemic phase) rather than prolonging the process with the drip drip. Another thought, I remember when I was searching for a home in 2010, as much as I was stressed out at the time, I knew even while I was in the home searching process, I’d miss it when it was over. It was like a hobby. Maybe some people see covid avoidance as a hobby- and they need to find a new hobby. It also seems like this is a book for would be mini authoritarian types. They get to tell us what to do and virtue signal their moral superiority. And finally, there seems to be a lot of money tied up in this... from the school test and stay program (places like CHOP in Philly have big money tied to offering that plan to local, wealthy schools) or the covid protocol money hospitals get or the clicks that big media gets from covid fear. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. And sadly, the group I think might help move things along, is the PMC bosses- like my company that owns a ton of real estate and wants us back in the office - to get the company culture up and going. Same for how the CDC shortened the quarantine period. Bc industries needed them to.
If you asked the Covid Dead Enders if they want the pandemic to end, all would say they want it more than anything.I think people want the pandemic to end, they just want it to end on their terms. One of the worst things about the pandemic was how it became politicized. The blue state version of the pandemic end is the vaccine's prevented all transmission and we eventually get to herd immunity and Zero Covid. This is basically what we were promised and it's not going to happen based upon the fact that Israel is about 6 months ahead of us and shows what is going to happen next. Even as it becomes clear that Zero Covid is not possible, blue state people refuse to admit that they were wrong. Admitting lockdowns/vaccine mandates/universal masking didn't make a significant material difference means that red states were right and it may cost votes. Thus people want to the pandemic to continue forever or at least until the facts change and it ends the way they envisioned it ending.
I don't think this is limited to blue state people though. I think everybody has issues admitting they are wrong. If the coin flipped the other way, red state people would dig just as deep and refuse to admit the measures worked.
I think this has become a religion for many people. While we joke about "Branch Covidians", there is a strong element of truth behind it. With more and more people losing touch with organized religion, they need something to replace it and give their lives meaning. Instead of signaling that you are a true believer by wearing a cross, they don their masks instead. Everyone who doesn't believe the words uttered by St. Fauci and his apostles are branded as heretics. The political element is also very strong as many Democrats (wrongly) believe everyone who is opposed to lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and forced mask wearing must be an evil, Tump-worshiping cretin. They fear being labeled as being labeled as a Republican, anti-vaxxer, or COVID-denier if they don't toe the party line. It's going to be very difficult for some to let go of this.
As I see some others have said similar, I would agree that this drive to maximize covid is mainly driven by Trump Derangement, which at its root is just tribalism. I believe folks do it in good faith, but rather than coming from the proclaimed engagement with reality, maximizing covid is driven by reactionary politics and is now a proxy, a litmus test, to determine whose tribe you belong to - them or us. For the tribe we are talking about (which is the one I was raised in and until recently belonged to), maximizing covid simply signifies you are not a deplorable.
I believe strongly that if Trump had pushed for mandates and lockdowns, then all of this would be reversed and my leftish peers would be the ones screaming about civil rights, etc. Tribalism is the reason there is no room for complexity. Folks who are tribal simply cannot fathom that there are folks who are not and so being against madates can only he seen as anti-vax, etc. Covid mensheviks must be destroyed.
Its tribal, reactionary politics.
And just to be clear, those minimizing covid are every bit as tribal and reactionary.
1. I do see the pandemic winding down also. The arrival of Omicron confirmed what we were hoping for in terms of vira evolution: more contagious and less deadly. 2. I am also not sure as to why some people seem unwilling to let go of the pandemic panic. I think many people in power do not want to let go, because fear makes people easy to manipulate — plus, elected officials love their emergency powers. As far a regular folks go, I think that maybe a few factors are a) the cultural glorification of victimhood; COVID positive diagnosis can grant you oppressed status in certain circles and b) the sustained brainwashing by the MSM with the 24-hour fear porn cycle. I think some people are just addicted to the fear as a maladaptive response to the psychological manipulation of the last 24 month.
1. Yes, it's winding down unless you ask the media, politicians, influencers or NPR liberals in urban areas (I'm surrounded by them). 2. The capital class wants us atomized, alienated and distracted from facts like 25 families now own half of all wealth down from 400 and that morbidity of working age Americans is up 40%, etc. American public education is finished. Our country is ravaged by fentanyl. The social contract is over and the American capital class would rather bail out to New Zealand than be taxed. It’s easier for them to sneak out if we’re all home and scared.