Here’s the reality: if 30 percent or more of the population is unable to be convinced to vaccinate there will be no “back to normal” without continued serious impacts to our health system and society at large. Delta is one variant, but the World Health Organization (WHO) is tracking at least 13 variants, so Covid appears to be going the way of the seasonal flu. Healthcare workers had to get their annual flu shot for years, insurance companies gave discounts on premiums for doing so, and now it is likely that we will need annual Covid shots to mitigate the worst symptoms (death) from additional variants that have yet to emerge.
In a civilized society we have a responsibility to think about our most vulnerable populations and to act empathetically. It’s clear the after-effects of Trump emboldening the worst tendencies in some of us are still lingering, and I’m not sure they’ll go away. Wearing a mask is not hard and not a big deal. Getting vaccinated is not hard and not a big deal. Why are we screaming about this like we’re children? Anyone in an underserved country is looking at us and wondering what the flip is wrong with us. Rugged individualism (which is drilled into us during our daily struggles to get rich enough to escape the systemic problems our society refuses to address) isn’t going to magically solve this issue. But natural selection will certainly take its course. How many Darwin awards could we give out in the last month alone?
I don’t have much hope at this point. Why? Because given how many in this country subscribe to Q-Anon and other batcrazy nonsense, I don’t think the terminally detached will ever find their way back to reality. Or let me lower the bar to ask them to even think about someone other than themselves for just a second. Just one flippin’ second. Just try it. See how it feels. Imagine being so misguided that you put your own selfishness above working together to protect your family, friends, and the health of your community/state/country. It’s insane. And if we can’t ace this test, what chance do we have to solve the increasingly existential risk that is climate change?