My Jeremiad on COVID-19 – Cobb County Courier

Most people who have grown up in Christian, Jewish, or Muslim traditions have a general idea of ​​Jeremiah’s mood and behavior and that he was not an optimistic person.

In fact, Jeremiah has become an almost universal symbol of the bearer of bad news.

It follows that even if you have never heard of the word “Jeremiad”, you can guess that it means pessimistic predictions.

This is my Jeremiad on COVID-19.

We’re not out of the woods yet, and maybe never in our lives

I wrote in an opinion piece last sunday that we are not yet out of the woods of COVID-19. What caused that was that the previous day I had reported on a… increase in COVID cases among Cobb County school-age residents, after several consecutive weeks of modest decline.

I got some interesting but predictable push back on social media.

Two commentators found it suspicious that I would report those numbers when the CDC advocated vaccination for younger people (5 years and older). In other words, they thought I was conspiring with the CDC to scare people into vaccinating their children.

I reported on it not because there was any sort of exchange of talking points between the media and the CDC, but because it was newsworthy.

I had previously reported on the trend when the numbers started to fall after the Delta peak

So I reported when they started rising again. The Georgia Department of Public Health’s Weekly Figures School-age Covid-19 Surveillance Data report are important, and we should all be aware of it, because data matters whether it supports our personal beliefs or not.

Another commenter just got to the point and told me to stop scaring people because the 773,779 COVID deaths in the US as of today’s numbers weren’t scary enough.

I want people to be scared

I do want people to be scared because COVID is still a horrible disease. I became an early advocate of fear of the disease when a cousin I grew up with became one of the first victims of the disease in Cobb County.

His brother told me that the cousin had developed flu-like symptoms, was hospitalized a few days later, went on a ventilator and died nine days from the time he started showing the first signs. I am 70 years old. He was about three years older than me.

A few months ago, the husband of another of my first cousins ​​died of COVID. I suspect that my two relatives who have passed away so far will not be the last.

And yes, we are old, and some of us have ‘underlying circumstances’. But the disease has also killed all age segments.

Below is the CDC chart of the percentage by age segment of deaths of people whose age was available.

Disaster fatigue and the role of politics

When looking at social media engagement through the lens of COVID awareness, two things become clear.

The first is that the public is just tired of thinking about the disease and wants everything to go back to the pre-COVID norm. And they behave accordingly.

Normally I would use the more formally correct term “normality”, but normality fits this perfectly as the term was famously used by President Warren G. Harding, who applied it to the urge to return to normal routines after the Spanish flu epidemic, WWI, and the red scare.

But the virus doesn’t care if we ever go back to normal, and in fact its programming is to mutate and make sure we don’t.

The virus doesn’t think. It just finds a host and duplicates itself.

The role of politics is the second thing that becomes apparent, and it is bizarre, insane and frustrating.

There is no rational reason why fighting a deadly disease should be an ideological affair.

For an irrational set of reasons, the Trump-supporting, QAnon-squirting sector of the population has become the headquarters of the anti-vaxxer, anti-mask quack science approach to the pandemic.

And as a result, even relatively sensible and reasonable Republicans in elected offices have yielded to them and supported movements that are blocking an effective response to COVID-19.

So it’s doubtful that we’ll do much better than the top 40 percent reach with full vaccination in Georgia in the near future.

This means that reaching herd immunity will be out of reach.

Which means the chart of COVID-19 will show wave after wave of spikes over time.

I hope I’m wrong

I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t think of any rational reason why we won’t have new waves, and maybe they’ve already started.

Europe is in a new wave. The CDC reported an increase in the number of cases in the US over the past week:

Wishful thinking about natural immunity will not stop this pandemic. Neither will vaccination, unless sensible voices on the conservative side of the political spectrum can convince their peers to stop succumbing to pseudoscience.

But since I don’t see that happening in the near future, I’m pessimistic.

And that’s why this is a Jeremiad.


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *