Weirdly, covid is still here

Preston Jones/Special to the Herald-Leader
Preston Jones/Special to the Herald-Leader

It's understandable that the people whose decisions in 2020 turned a disquieting public health problem into a slow-rolling social tragedy want to move on. "Let it go," they say. But, for a lot of reasons, we can't really move on. One reason is that the three-year train of untruths uttered by Anthony Fauci is derailing and as the mushroom cloud takes shape old debates will too. A second reason is that no one reading this will outlive the consequences of the fear-fed decisions made in the covid era, least of all young people of modest means.

A third reason is that the pandemic is still going. It's been ripping through Siloam Springs lately and I can attest to its nastiness. People are talking about it but it doesn't seem like a big deal. Why was it so serious 18 months ago but not now?

Some will say the current muted reaction comes thanks to the vaccines. But that isn't true. The effectiveness of the vaccines hasn't come close to what the experts asserted. Plenty of people with five shots have come down sick with covid. There's evidence that the vaccine does more harm to the young, especially young men, than good. The fact that a large majority of parents have ignored the CDC's recommendation to further vaccinate their children against covid suggests how little confidence people have in the Pfizer and Moderna cartels and their government consorts.

The main reason the response to the recent wave of covid has been so quiet is because we're in a different place psychologically. At some point, the media-generated panic had to cede to observable reality.

There are still some true believers willing to defend the response to covid. There are still a few people cruel enough to say, as one letter writer to this newspaper did, that all the unnecessary harm inflicted on the young in response to the virus should be put into a box labeled "life isn't fair." The era of covid overreaction was full of meaningless suffering, which made it a bonanza for sociopaths.

For political reasons, Republicans are rehearsing the official number given for how many passed away from covid. This sharpens their case against China, where the virus was obviously developed in a lab, partly with money from the U.S. government. Probably we'll never know how many really died from covid, which is different from dying from something else while having covid. Among the many stories suppressed by the government-media complex was that hospitals had a financial incentive to emphasize covid diagnoses. A nurse from Springdale relates the case of a man listed as having died from covid who coincidentally had a couple bullet holes in his body.

What we can know with certainty is that the policy-setting health authorities never really cared about health. Far more people died in the covid era from heart disease than from the virus but no serious campaign was orchestrated to address it.

Consider the photograph nearby. As of late March 2020, sitting in a gazebo was deemed "safe" but kicking a ball on a soccer field wasn't. Using a bird-watching site was "unsafe." Throwing a basketball into a hoop was "unsafe." The notice doesn't mention the middle school track being locked up. And while the walking trails stayed open, some advocated closing them.

The gist of the policy was pretty clear: (1) Don't exercise and (2) if you do, stay away from all breathing bags of disease (formerly called humans). The weird thing is that people with strong cardiovascular health were far less likely to be harmed by covid. If there ever was a time to encourage people to exercise, it was the spring of 2020. For some reason, we were encouraged and positioned to do the opposite.

One dodge we hear these days is that people in leadership positions acted according to what they knew and had no countervailing information. But that isn't true. By late March 2020, there were serious, knowledgeable, well-credentialed people expressing grave doubts about the panic-driven response to covid. By the early fall of that year, the "Great Barrington Declaration" was calling for what almost everyone now sees as the best approach: protect the vulnerable while the rest of the population develops natural immunity, or at least natural resistance. Through 2020, the Herald-Leader published op-ed essays that made the easy prediction that the lockdowns, school closures and endless masking would have destructive psychological, economic and social consequences.

Across the board, such dissenters were sidelined, canceled and derided. Their mental health was questioned. They were accused of wanting to kill people. Some of their careers were destroyed.

But they were right.

It was a time when we needed universities to be centers of calm reason and critical thinking; when we needed churches to be centers of moral strength. It was a time when we needed the "question authority" wing of the Boomer generation to, well, question authority.

It's worth contemplating: What caused so many Americans to just go along, despite seeing the unnecessary harm done?

Preston Jones lives in Siloam Springs and works on numerous educational projects, including "War and Life: Discussions with Veterans," which can be found at The opinions expressed are those of the author.