A couple of days ago, Atlantic writer Yascha Mounk wrote a piece about how he thinks all COVID restrictions–such as they are (we’ll return to this)–should be lifted (apparently, to ‘both sides’ the excellent coverage by Ed Yong, Katherine Wu, and Susan Zhang, The Atlantic has this asshole writing about COVID). As is the case with most of the Thinky Thought Leaders publicly in this camp, he offers neither a quantitative estimate of what the implications of lifting restrictions will be nor does he mention long COVID*.
But we see, by way of David Waldman, what Mounk’s real concerns are:
In other words, he wants to engage in activities that might slow the decline of new cases or even increase them without feeling guilty about doing so. Instead of keeping his shit together for a few more weeks to lower the prevalence further, he wants to feel good right now. This isn’t failing the marshmallow test, it’s eating the whole fucking bag.
What makes this all the more ridiculous is there is no place in the U.S. that is preventing private gatherings. You could host a kid’s birthday party everyday! (Sounds exhausting though). Some places require intermittent masking (which, to the likes of Mounk, apparently is akin to kidney dialysis). A limited few, though Our Thinky Thought Leaders and Substack Bois disproportionately happen to live in those places, require vaccination for entry.
It’s clear Omicron broke a lot of pundits’ brains. Despite my pessimism about the current moment, things will improve–and if we could keep our shit together, likely in a few weeks. But that won’t happen if we keep loosening up too early–and very few places have low enough transmission anywhere near that. Today. In a few weeks, hopefully not.
*Leaving aside the absolutely worthwhile concerns of the immunocompromised, it’s completely normal to want to avoid getting a disease in which a small percent of the infected (0.5-2.0% by my estimates based on the available literature), even when vaccinated, wind up with long-term mental or physical disability. No one says polio is just a stomach bug either…