Boy Howdy, we are definitely not Denmark. This week, at least part of Twitter has been abuzz about Denmark’s massive rollback of pandemic restrictions (David Fucking Leonhardt probably is peeing himself in excitement). But there are two very essential differences. First, the prevalence of COVID is about four-times lower in Denmark than it is in the U.S.–not that this will stop supposed ‘numbers guys’ and Substack Bois from claiming, “Sun’s out, guns out, everybody party!”
But there’s another difference. In a very interesting thread, one of the people advising the Danish government, Michael Bang Petersen, describes how they reached that decision–and why it’s popular. There are some obvious themes: high vaccination rates, societal trust in vaccination, an understanding and willingness to reimplement restrictions if needed. There are concerns about long COVID, but those weren’t considered deal breakers.
That brings us to my snarky post title, which refers to the multiple Democratic presidential primary candidates who proclaimed the obvious, in an effort to derail better healthcare and social programs. In the U.S., many people can’t miss work, certainly for an extended period of time (which for some might be a week). It’s no accident that the demographic groups that are the most economically precarious, typically (#NotAll…) favor restrictions, such as masking and masks in schools. They can’t afford to get sick, even for a week or two–and certainly not for weeks.
Like the fish who asks, “What is water”, Petersen can’t see that having a social safety net means people can be less risk averse (not blaming him at all). That’s just something the U.S. doesn’t have–and openly scorns.
We are not Denmark.