Not the Time to be Afraid of Covid-19

Alright folks, I think it is about time we all calm down and take a good look at how we are responding to this current wave of Covid-19 infections. The election is over. For what little difference it will make, the ballots have been cast. I thought it stupid to politicize the mask issue, and all of the fear-mongering and mask-shaming really showed the ugly side of liberals and progressives.

When I saw how quickly the Democrats threw our civil rights under the bus, along with small businesses, working people, artists, not to mention our summer, our vacation plans, and damn near a year of our lives, in their effort to sew fear into the hearts of the American people, I recognized the Democrats for what they are: the other side of authoritarian fascism.

Trump’s Republican supporters boldly display the arrogance, belligerence and contempt for the truth that we expect from a fascist regime, but Biden’s Democrats reminded us that the other side of fascism is a cowardly, timid, and obsequious populace, easily manipulated by fear. Nobody voted for Biden because they thought he was a great leader. People voted for Biden because they are afraid. Because of their fear of Trump, liberals and progressives settled for nothing, and that’s exactly what we’ll get from Joe. Similarly, if you are afraid enough of the pandemic to settle for a life mediated through Zoom and Facebook and endure the dehumanization and restrictions of our civil liberties inherent in masking and social distancing guidelines, that’s exactly what you will get from now on.

Covid-19 is not Ebola. Covid-19 looked scary back in March, but it turned out that putting Covid-19 patients on ventilators killed patients who probably would have survived, had they not taken their doctor’s advice. Over the summer, treatment protocols changed, and the death rate dropped significantly. Also, we learned that many, if not most people who get Covid-19, have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Both of these facts indicate that the virus is not as deadly as we, at first, feared.

Today, we don’t hear about these important facts, nor do we have meaningful conversations about how to balance the increasing costs of social isolation against the more realistic assessment of the virus. Instead we hear the same old story: “Covid is deadly! infection rates are rising! Be afraid! Be very afraid!” This is not the time to be afraid, of the pandemic anyway.

The response to the pandemic, on the other hand, has had unprecedented impacts on our freedom and civil liberties, and it threatens to undermine our sovereignty over our own bodies. Covid-19 blindsided us. We were so distracted by the Trumpster fire that we never saw it coming. We’ve never seen a public health coup before, but we just turned our lives over to doctors and scientists, who we did not choose, and cannot replace, because we are afraid of something we cannot see. Doctors and scientists make good advisers, but no matter how much they condescend to you, you should never trust them to make decisions for you, and you should remember that their specialties are extremely narrow.

First, we need to face the fact that people die. Life is 100% fatal. No one here gets out alive. Almost three million people died in the US last year. We lose about 650,000 people to heart disease, another 600,000 people to cancer, and 400,000 people a year die of medical mistakes. These are mostly preventable deaths, that we accept as part of the cost of liberty and a global hi-tech economy. Even if we lose 300,000 people to Covid-19 this year, it will, at most, amount to a 10% increase in US overall mortality, and many argue that it is much less than that.

Besides that, saying that 250,000 Americans died OF Covid-19 this year is very misleading. That statistic includes anyone who died this year and tested positive for Covid-19 postmortem, including many people who died of completely unrelated causes, like the blunt force trauma of a car crash, not Covid-19. Covid-19 is NOT the killer pandemic we all feared, and ramping-up the fear is not how we should handle this new wave of infection, but that is exactly what is happening.

Fear mongering about the virus has eclipsed any discussion of the impacts of the response. Why don’t we hear about: A) Since when do public health directives trump constitutionally protected civil rights? B) What are the negative health impacts of social isolation and economic disempowerment? C) Why on Earth would we agree to curtail our lives in response to the inadequacy of our health care system? Or D) How long do we think we can hide from nature?

This whole episode smells very fishy to me, and I think the draconian response to Covid-19 might be much more deadly than the virus itself. It’s about time we come to our senses and take a serious look at what we’ve let our fear of the pandemic do to ourselves, our communities and our society, because unless we can shake off the shock, face the fear, and reclaim our rights as citizens, including our right to make our own decisions about our own health, those rights may well disappear forever.

Author: john hardin

Artist bio: The writer in me says: “Don’t tell them who you are, show them what you do.” The artist in me says: “It must be strong, simple, bold, yet rich with detail, but above all, original.” The filmmaker in me says: “We need to contextualize your work by weaving the roots of the Psychedelic Revolution, the Environmental Movement, Gaia Theory, Future Primitivism and musical influences from Iannis Xenakis to Bart Hopkin into a narrative that portrays an iconoclast's struggle for cultural relevance from the forested hinterlands of rural Northern California within the greater post-industrial, post-post-modern, post-reality mind-fuck of the 21st Century.” The critic in me says: “Will that guy ever shut up?” The comedian in me says: “It has to make me laugh at least once.” The engineer in me says: “Don’t forget to tell them that you do it all off-grid, with solar power, using recycled materials.” And the improvisational musician in me says: “Cut! Great job everybody!”

9 thoughts on “Not the Time to be Afraid of Covid-19”

  1. I think you are underestimating the dangers of the pandemic. All of us who are over 2 billion seconds old don’t want to die from this thing. Masks and distancing prevent deaths and civil liberties has never protected your right to spread a plague. Maybe you’ll rethink this after you attend a few funerals via Zoom or Skype.

    1. If you want to spend your last days hiding from a germ, who am I to stop you, but the world I live in has always been full of dangerous creatures, and my rights are not in any way diminished by their presence.

  2. Thats it John. Remove me from your email list.I have a dead mother from Covid and you can go breathe deep the infected air and enjoy it by yourself.Wow, what the fuck happened to the guy who started Mass Grass?Be gone. And good bye.Sent from my Galaxy

  3. Sometimes privilege looks like being able to ignore a crisis that others are suffering and dying from. On the other hand, how about those who are fearful and have a compromised immune system wear their masks and social distance themselves? Pick your poison.

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