a pandemic so bad, that if we stop telling you about it all the time, you'll stop noticing it

mistaking fear mongering for public health

the trade of the fear monger is not a respected one. (but it does pay well)

the conjuring of endless hobgoblins to terrify and manipulate a populace is a political game as old as time. they do it because it works.

and participatory engagement in the fear really drives it home.

making everyone ration something creates a sense of crisis and of “pitching in.” there is a reason it gets trotted out as part of war efforts. it’s not because we’re out of X. it’s to provide a symbol, a unifier.

this pandemic has been 90%+ about that.

having just come from several months in a free state with no meaningful restrictions, i can tell you: as soon as this all fell out of the paper and the news and no one has to cosplay at safety any more, everyone forgot about it.

no one noticed. no one cared. life was normal. this meme is flat out reality:

this is what happened in utah while i was there:

it was, like every other state that has come into full season similar to or worse than last year. (and this is coming soon for the northeast. watch.)

but this year, NO ONE EVEN NOTICED. there was just no fear, no reaction, and no concern because, at the end of the day there was really nothing much going on. this is all over testing, silly definitional manipulation, and statistical scare tactics masquerading as public health policy.

as soon as you tune it out, the world is normal.

this makes for an astounding contrast to puerto rico, where there is basically no covid, the whole pandemic was essentially over before we had any idea what covid 19 was (nov 2019 to feb 2020), and where there has never, despite all manner of hysterical governmental messaging, been anything like a hospital issue. they have been so empty that several of my friends got laid off for lack of work during a “state of emergency” over a disease that “threatened to swamp the hospitals.”

the disconnect is astonishing.

we have 56 people in the hospital for covid on the whole island right now. yet when you ask around, people think there is a crisis still going on and that hospitals are swamped and hanging on by a thread.

many people wear masks on the street. some wear them on the beach. neither is required.

most restaurants are allegedly demanding proof of vaxx (though no one has asked me yet, probably more out of knowing where to go than a lack of gleeful vichy imposition.)

the silly “mask game” of “wear your mask to walk in, but you can take it off when you sit down” continues. (by law)

this is obviously the height of stupid and plays zero epidemiological role. but what if it’s not about the epidemiology but rather the psychology?

the very act of performative protection makes you presume the protection is needed.

this is precisely how cognitive dissonance works. pay someone to preform an unpleasant task, and they will describe disliking it afterwards. get them to do it for free, and they will find it less odious. your brain steps in and says “well, it can’t have been that bad, i did it for nothing.”

the same works for fear.

“everyone is acting scared, therefore, i should be scared.”

“we would not be taking all these precautions if the situation were not dire.”

i am making a sacrifice for this, therefore my sacrifice is warranted.

nobody likes to feel like a chump. everyone wants all that they gave up to mean something. so they double and triple down on their beliefs to avoid admitting a sunk cost fallacy. it’s a cognitive defense mechanism to avoid feeling like a rube and it is POWERFUL.

but it can also waver, then fall. the evidence gets too strong that NONE of this has worked and this year looks just like last year despite all the vaccinations and depredations.

rationality would see you abandon this nonsense. but cognitive dissonance would have you double down and continue to claim that YOU got it right and that we need MORE sacrifice and to lock down, mask up, and boost, boost, boost!

the problem, of course, is that at a certain point, you’re doing this while being iron bar sure you’re “on the side of science.”

but, of course, the leaders and experts who made this mess WANT you do to that. otherwise, it’s their bacon that’s in the fire.

so they want performative acts, new mandates, new restrictions, and new intrusions because that’s how they keep the fear going. you need reminders everywhere. this is, i am not kidding, some mail i recently got from australia. check out the postmark.

no one can be allowed to stop thinking about the pandemic for an instant, because, quite literally, as soon as they do, they will stop noticing it altogether.

what is needed is some perspective.

if we had never fixated on this, never named it, never fixated on it, never run more covid tests in week in the US than we had ever run flu tests in a year, and never used the most bizarrely inclusive definitions of cases and deaths and hospitalization ever applied to any pathology, would anyone have even really noticed it?

i doubt it.

in PR, our truly bad covid season was mistaken for microplasmic pneumonia. people commented a bit on “wow, it’s a crummy flu this year.” but that was it. no one told us to be afraid. so we weren’t. holiday parties were festive and full. i hosted a RIPPER of a party in early march.

in utah, last summer, everyone freaked out because it was all the news could talk about. this year was objectively worse, and no one even noticed, much less cared.

this is not about a pandemic of the vaxxed or unvaxxed.

95% of the last 2 years has been a mental illness.

yes, covid is real. yes, it killed people. but the numbers have been outlandishly overstated and NO it was not some wild once in a generation event.

what happened was, frankly, pretty common. it was the reaction that made it into an outlier.

hospitals in NY or CA got hit this hard in the 2017-18 flu. they had tents. it’s just that no one cared. because that’s actually normal.

the broken clock just finally got one a bit right and people lost their minds.

it’s long been clear that “do nothing” sweden had normal all cause deaths for 2020 and is doing so again for 2021.

(thanks to harald for acknowledging the gato year (also known as the CDC flu year). it’s good to have pals.)

yes, there were some high months, but this was, at worst, clearly just pulling the deaths of those about to die in any event slightly forward to no net annual effect. one can try to spin that to sound callous or awful, but there is a simple fact: it happens all the time. the flu is notorious for doing that. it is a non-avoidable feature of the world. and for the 100 years up to 2020, everyone knew that.

again, some perspective is warranted. so here’s some perspective:

the very worst all cause deaths month in sweden was about the same as the noted plague year of 2008 when some unnamed issue led to the same outcome and, wait for it, no one noticed.

this happened 7 more times in the 90’s. the 1993 “beijing flu” and the 1988 flu were considerably worse. does anyone even remember them?

the last 2 years have been a bad peyote trip of public policy where fear driven hallucinations led to the VAST over estimation of risk and the hysterical grasping for anything that felt like “doing something.”

we just swerved around a chipmunk in the road like it was a brachiosaurus.

we lost all sense of proportion and all sense of there being an actual world full of people with lives and livelihoods attached to this B rate epidemiological video game.

you can have normal back the minute you demand it.

it’s not covid that’s stopping you.