We are shambling towards a third year of the global SARS-CoV-2 pandemic with -- possibly -- some kind of an end in sight, and it's time for people who have lurched to the fringes to start rejoining the real world.
I'm not talking about your uncle who thinks the Mon landings were faked, the "chemtrails" true believer in your office at work or your moonbatty cousin who won't let her kids get any vaccines and thinks crystals will heal. Those folks staked out their claims to nutjob territory long ago and most of them have figured out how to interact with the rest of the world in a mostly-harmless way.
Nope, I'm talking about the people who continue to claim that COVI-19 is fake, or no big deal, the people who keep searching for excuses to not get vaccinated (and sharing memes about it on social media). I'm talking about the people who continue to claim the pandemic just a cover or excuse for some vaguely-defined "them" to get up to some nebulous but nefarious wickedness.
Knock it the hell off, wouldja? In the U.S., the pandemic has now lasted from the Administration of a widely-disliked Republican President to the Administration of a widely-disliked Democrat President. Both guys (each well past the age at which normal men have relaxed into retirement) got into office as Hobson's choice, had a moment in the sun, and settled down to what most modern U.S. Presidents enjoy: public disdain. Congress has shrugged and junketed its way from a slim majority for one party to a slim majority for the other -- and has at no point been especially cooperative with even the President from their own party when it came to essential legislation. If the pandemic had been a part of some dire plot, we would have seen it by now. Instead, it's just the same-old, same-old, except with face masks and more remote voting.
It's a world-wide pandemic; every country that can make or lay hands on vaccines is vaccinating people as quickly as they can, from Costa Rica to Norway, from Australia to Russia, no matter the system of government or economics, friend or foe, they're all doing the same thing. This would be A Clue.
Coronavirus vaccines clearly and obviously work, and if you haven't had yours yet, it's time to go get it. The reported side effects are mild, and most of them can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers. The worst effects hit a far smaller number of people than would have suffered lasting harm from the COVID-19 virus had they not been immunized -- and at this point, it's a statistical certainty that you're either going to get vaccinated or catch the virus (or, yes, both, and if so, you will be far better off if you were vaccinated first). Yes, both natural and vaccine-created immunity does wane over time; how much, how quickly and if one is better than the other is still unclear, though there is strong evidence that the mRNA vaccines provide broader and longer-lasting immunity. They are not perfect; no vaccine is. Public health is a macro-scale endeavor, and modern civilization has successfully fought many infectious diseases with vaccines that were much less than 100% effective.
If any of this was part of some vast conspiracy, it must be that nobody involved had even a tenth of the competence of Ian Fleming's mother.*
I get it -- it's fun to feel engaged, it's fun to feel outraged, it's fun to have villains to hiss at and heroes to cheer. The reality is far duller, armies of doctors and nurses and annoying gray bureaucrats, most of them just putting one foot in front of the other, getting though the days one at a time, shots and patients and long hours. But we are getting through this; nobody has "taken over" anything. Pretty much the same old phony-baloney politicians are muddling their way through the same old phony-baloney jobs. We have buried far too many people while the ill-informed screeched at one another on social media.
It's time to stop kidding yourself and roll up your sleeves -- or one sleeve, anyway. Come back. Reality misses you, and wants you to return. Just slip in at the back of the room; nobody's going to razz you for admitting you might've leapt to a conclusion or six and have now realized it could've been a bit too much.
And that goes triple if you're an NFL quarterback. Sheesh! Kids look up to those guys.
* This is too good to explain in detail. She may have been the model for "M" and the better Bond villains. Let us just say the elder Mrs. Fleming was subtle, highly competent and (at least socially) dangerous to cross.
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