Such a good question! On the philosophy side: our incredibly dumb and getting dumber discourse as simulation/hyperreality (Baudrillard); a pathologizing trajectory post-enlightenment (Foucault); hubris of man over nature and iatrogenesis (Illich); the state of exception...
...vis à vis controlling bodies (Agamben); the banality of evil (Arendt); “control society” (Deleuze).
On the sociology-adjacent side, but really as catch-all for the rest: the brittleness of scientific institutions and the concept of paradigm shift (Kuhn);...
...manufacturing consent (Chomsky), which in this case has become autonomous as part of our outrage economy (Taibbi); your pick of some historical materialist class analysis (take your pick!) to explain the political economy part (plus Turchin and Gurri to update it);...
It’s clear that we don’t fully understand exactly the timing of these waves around the country and the world. Seasonality, stochasticity, NPIs, sure, but... there’s obviously unknown exogenous factors influencing specific intervals across geographies.
And yet there are a number of factors—political, professional, social—in not publicly broadcasting this. That we really just don’t know for certain. I wish it was more acceptable to admit that all existing explanations fall short. That uncertainty, confusion are OK. (Good, even!)
Anyway, I hope when consensus coalesces around explanatory variables in 90 years, it’s not only entirely outside of our paradigm but also really, really stupid.
Like, semi-predictable regional waves are instigated by an increase in seasonally-shed cat dander. Or the moon!
I can’t ignore the sense of unreality that I feel as I contemplate the change in my politics. “Did I move, or has the left? Has my ideology shifted, or has theirs?”
This past year has been such a revelation. A falling of scales from the eyes, I guess.
I now recognize tools of shame and control, the authoritarian framework of many politics (not necessarily the ideology, but the application) of the contemporary left. Progressivism as a culture of conformity, the intolerance for anything outside of a narrow spectrum of opinion.
Why didn't I see it before? I think, maybe, because I was (and still am) invested in fighting for the underdog, in ensuring fairness and justice and all that good stuff. I just thought the right was the enforcer of that oppression. (They still are, but through a different mode.)
A lot of the CDC decisions—the really nonsensical stuff where toddlers, but not vaccinated adults, must continue wearing masks outdoors—make more sense when viewed through the lens of a professionalization-driven quest to neatly “complete” the pandemic. Tie it off with a bow.
The pandemic will end in the US through vaccination. It’s a miracle of human ingenuity. I am so grateful.
Yet wholly defanging the virus in a population through widespread vaccination of the at-risk isn’t enough. This is Fauci’s white whale.
Until vaccines are available for the youngest kids, I’m not sure the CDC will insinuate that it’s “OK” to accept a non-zero number of cases by dropping all NPIs.
Despite covid being less of a risk to them than other ambient risks readily accepted without hesitation pre-2020.
A majority of her patients will still only do OT sessions over Zoom, saying their kids can’t resume in-person therapy until they themselves (the kids) are vaccinated. This didn’t surprise me; I live here.
When I told this to another friend, a teacher in TX, she was floored. 2/
I don’t think we’ve gotten a handle around just how geographically-dependent the median covid response is. And how differently the average person has internalized the pandemic threat, depending on where they live.
Those who have reflexively regurgitated a year’s worth of partisan talking points can’t fathom that our enormous, exceedingly specific and “scientific” sacrifices may have had little to do with actual outcomes.
If red states aren’t absolutely plague-ridden, what does that imply about much of what was supposedly a moral imperative to “save lives?”
In order to square the circle on restrictions as empirical necessity, reflexive partisans must deny reality. Cognitive dissonance in action.
The widely-held view that Florida and Texas (and any state where the Wrong Guys are in charge) is engaging in a watertight, widespread conspiracy to hide covid deaths—where nurses, hospital administrators, funeral homes, everyone are all in on it—is left-wing QAnon.
“The vaccines have nearly eliminated death, hospitalization and other serious Covid illness among people who have received shots. Yet many vaccinated people continue to obsess over the risks from Covid”
“A vaccinated person’s chances of getting Covid are about one in 11,000. The chances of a getting a version any worse than a common cold are even more remote. But they are not zero. And they will not be zero anytime in the foreseeable future.”
Can I share what helped me get through dark days in California? When we were knee-deep in our own reactive, political, anti-scientific monomania. When it was clear we were doing all the wrong things, and none of the right ones... 1/
I would think about the needless damage being done. To the poor. To children. To the social fabric. It was like being forced to watch a loved one self-harm, but unable to reach out and help. Paralyzed. And it was all being done in the name of Science. 2/
In order for this paradigm to be rejected, though, Canada needs an Ontario. Just like the US needed a California.
The logical conclusion of these stupid policies. The ritual bloodletting, economic self-flagellation, pointlessness of all of it. It needs to be viewed in relief. 3/
At least he’s now consistent with his March ‘20 opinion, which was:
“This is like trying to stop the wind. You never hear anybody say in a bad seasonal flu year, “We’re going to stop this one.” If you don’t a vaccine that works, you don’t. It’s just breathing, that’s all it is.”
This sort of “expert opinion” was the prevailing one in the field until an epistemic shift over the course of a few weeks in March/April 2020 in which the trajectory of the pandemic could be fully manipulated as a matter of brute force.
“China beat the pandemic, Europe crushed it, our toddler president and his dumb followers are the things standing in the way of us beating it, too. We’re the only country who has failed so horribly. Come on, we can do this!” was such an unhelpful framing. theatlantic.com/health/archive…
✔️ 1 part “we need to encourage those already vaccinated but still, for some reason, anxious about returning!”
✔️ 1 scoop “well, we already signed those testing contracts, plus we can use our own platform!”
✔️ 1 dash group dynamics of “Uh, just so you guys know, I want to signal the utmost in caution so everyone knows I believe this pandemic is still Really Serious. I’m not one of those ‘covid is a hoax!!!’ people.” And nobody pushing back on that due to the same dynamic.
The NYT’s framing is simply the latest iteration of weaponizing the mirage of meritocracy in modern America against those once again getting kicked in the teeth. It is fundamentally cope, an attempt to whitewash ones complicity in policies of cruelty and injustice.
Ah, yes, “grit.” “Stick-to-itiveness” was another similar word used to launder this bullshit, dangling the illusion of ascendency in a system where you’re almost guaranteed to fail through no fault of your own.
If you’re on the left (🙋🏻♀️) and still clinging to the “Florida whistleblower” as victim soul in the “Trump fucked up the pandemic” narrative (he sure did! but this claim is loonery): a warning that within the next ~6 months she will have gone the way of Michael Avenatti. Bail now.
There are a few influential partisans who continue to dig in, defending and promoting her even now—they likely haven’t looked into the situation too deeply—and it is lending credence to outright conspiracy theory and charlatanism.
I cannot understate how much of a mistake it is to keep leaning into this personality-based house of cards.
By not distancing from this now, by not outright rebuking and disassociating from Rebekah Jones, Democrats risk further enabling a steamrolling by Ron DeSantis in ‘24.
For others who have been watching the pandemic scientific discourse, the epistemic perspective of it, the preference cascade for setting a timeline to end restrictions in blue areas of the US has begun.
When this is over, every single one of you owes @MonicaGandhi9 a beer.
It’s all been about defining norms of what is acceptable, what can be pushed back against safely, what is an untouchable third rail. From day one in Spring 2020. Group dynamics forming prevailing scientific “consensus.”
As with everything else, corporations are going to signal the beginning of the preference cascade back to “normal,” not Newsom rolling back formal regulations.
Like last March (NBA cancellation! Tech companies send everyone home!) but in reverse. A norms-shifting waterfall.
Even after all willing adults are fully vaccinated, distancing requirements will remain in many spaces until corporations feel they can roll them back without consumer outrage. They know where their bread is buttered.
A vocal minority often (disproportionately) sets policy. Regarding covid norms, you have a group of people who are so incredibly misinformed about relative risk, yet create enough headaches for a brand or company that it’s not worth the trade-off to become a target of their ire.
“The trip from novel pathogen to familiar one is not a day at the beach—but it means that Covid will become one of those subliminal risks (like dying of the flu) that humans manage best by mainly removing them from their minds.”
Remember this? “I think it’s important to stress that it’s unlikely” (@sailorrooscout) is this spring’s iteration of “Be reassured the risk to your children is lower than that of seasonal flu” (@apsmunro) from last summer. It’s part of a greater pattern in pandemic reporting.
This has more or less been the law of pandemic journalism, especially in our panic economy: the most extreme interpretation of data must automatically be the one amplified, lest anyone Get The Wrong Idea or otherwise start Letting Their Guard Down.
I actually find this very sad. I’ve liked the guy for years.
His question is regarding a situation wherein **all adults are vaccinated**— a year of well-intentioned restrictions literalism has short-circuited understanding the spectrum of relative risk and transmission dynamics.
The public health establishment is the new clerisy. Many no longer trust themselves to make judgments; the logic is somewhat inaccessible, but most importantly the risks to ourselves and to the greater good are too great to mess around with directly.
Things like this reinforce the black-and-white thinking that has hampered us too often during the pandemic.
What metaphysical transformation happens at the moment that third family walks through the threshold which demands masks? (All adults here are vaccinated.)