"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Panic In Pandemia–The Feared Trifecta Is Here!

Sally Bartlett had all four COVID shots and boosters and the influenza vaccine, wore an N-95 mask whenever she stepped out of the house, and stayed clear of grocery stores, pharmacies, families, and friends; but panic set in when the feared trifecta – COVID, influenza, and RSV – arrived as the perfect storm.

It was early 2020 again when she scrubbed surfaces, disinfected mail, and had food and drugs delivered.  This was indeed The Big One, she reasoned, and her only recourse was to lock down, isolate, and close off all contact with others. 

Image result for images worried person in n 95 mask

She caught colds easily, suffered from hay fever, and assumed immune system failure.  COVID would not simply make her sick, but wreak havoc with an already compromised protective system.  Like many Americans, she conflated all immunological problems into one, big grab bag; and was convinced that she along with every other diabetic, HIV-positive, and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome victim was at equally high risk.  

Not only did she act on half-baked, poorly digested information, but like many other credulous Americans, swallowed all that was told her by government regardless of its ‘science’ or reasonableness. So, not only was she erroneously convinced that she was in a highly vulnerable category, she believed in the Doomsday scenario spread by the COVID Leader-in-Chief, Anthony Fauci and his CDC claques.

Anthony Fauci Prayer Candle – Tainted Saint LLC

Thanks to Fauci, there have been few temperate, reasonable, and objective responses to COVID.  From the very start, he and all government was in panic mode.  Schools, gyms, restaurants, and all public places were to be shut down, family gatherings discouraged, and stay-at-home work instituted.  Yet COVID was not Ebola or some rampant African viral disease.  It did not rip and roar through populations willy-nilly, killing as it went.  It affected the old and the seriously medically compromised.  The young and healthy not only survived but suffered little more than a bad cold.  Children were the least affected, and those testing positive rarely became ill.  Yet Fauci acted as though this indeed was The Big One, sowed fear and hysteria, and did lasting damage to education, economic activity, and social ties.

“We don’t know”, said Fauci, “but we must trust the science”; so until the science confirmed assumptions about contagion, infection, immunity, and incubation periods, no chances should be taken.  So people sprayed their mail, scrubbed their counters, sent Purell stock soaring, and kept wide distances even in near-empty parks and residential streets.  Indoor air was suspect and thousands were spent by businesses on expensive purifying equipment who guessed at the number of patrons who could safely be served at one time.  Plastic barriers were put up around tables and between diners.  Flimsy outdoor tents with propane heaters set up.  “The science is still quiet”, said Fauci, so one restrictive, limiting measure after another was imposed.

Image result for gary larson cartoon stupid scientists

Those old enough to remember the Hong Kong Flu (1968) remember that it was no fun.  Akin at least in symptoms but not severity to the Spanish flu, it was miserable.  People got sick and some died, but the country was not shut down, few masks were worn, there was no such thing as social distancing, and above all there was no panic.  It was a highly contagious disease, far less serious than most, there were no vaccines against it, but it was considered an inevitable, unfortunate occurrence. 

A decade or so earlier, polio was epidemic, but there was no panic.  Families kept their children away from pools and theatres in the summer, but schools remained open, and normal life continued. 

So why the hysteria associated with COVID when the risks of serious infection were small and limited to only certain groups of the population? What happened to our sang-froid? Our sense of proportion? Our philosophical perspective? How and why did we all fall so quickly and abjectly at the feet of Fauci, CDC, and the White House?

When a particularly virulent influenza strain showed up followed by a never-before observed new strain, RSV, Fauci felt his old personal, ethical and moral commitment rise up again.  After months of desultory, declining responses to COVID by a weary public, this pandemic trifecta gave him new life.  It was time to go public; and Sally Bartlett was one of his first converts and evangelists.

“Get tested!”, cried COVID hysterics.; yet the incubation period for the COVID virus is three days, so a negative test offers scant confidence. Knowing that you are negative on the day before your travel is no guarantee that you are not positive, infected a few days earlier at Whole Foods.  Children who test negative may well  turn out to be infected with COVID or much more likely by RSV thanks to hacking, coughing, and sneezing at pre-school the previous week. Crowded airports and packed planes guarantee an infectious environment, and a sip of water or an unexpected sneeze without a mask can undo all hopeful precautions.

Sack cartoon: The problem with COVID-19 testing delays

The media sensed a good story – a slow, painful, gasping death right before Christmas – and MSNBC and CNN led each segment with data suggesting a return to 2020 infections and government lockdowns.  News reporters, again triple masked, gloved and in protective uniforms reported the bad news from street corners, schools, and hospitals.  This indeed could be The Big One, they said, and it was time for action.  Stations cut to the President, flanked by his wife, Fauci and Kamala Harris, who issued dire warnings about the coming Armageddon.  

“Do the right thing”, the President said, put on his mask, and taking Jill’s hand walked slowly off stage.  Stations returned to the soundstage in roundtables of health experts all voicing their concern.  Cut to archive footage of empty supermarket shelves, shuttered schools, empty streets.  “Whatever you do, get tested”, concluded the host.  “It’s a matter of your life…”, and here she paused, “…and your death”.

Sally remained in place, isolated, self-quarantined, masked, tested, and immured.  In a reprise of 2020 she reactivated virtual shopping and at-home deliveries, reconfigured all billing and banking to paperless accounting, duct taped and sealed all windows and doors, re-activated her air purification system, and sat and waited for The Big One. 

The rest of the country went on as usual, coming down with this or that, refusing to buckle under once again to COVID, turning the clock back to pre-Chicken Little days, careful but not overboard, and much, much happier.

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