Our governments have chosen capitalism over preparing for the next wave of COVID

Climatologists have been warning for years about the threat of “feedback loops.” A feedback loop occurs when the right set of circumstances create a situation that feeds on itself, getting stronger with each cycle.

The not-so-frozen tundra of Siberia is the perfect current example. Human-caused warming is melting permafrost in the ground, releasing billions of tons of methane from the ground. This methane enters the atmosphere and warms it further, causing more permafrost to melt and more methane to be released. We turn arround.

As we approach the thousandth day of COVID-19 in the United States, another kind of feedback loop has formed. Instead of wind and rain, this one is made of people and politics, an extension of capitalism that you could see coming a mile away with the right eyes.

I can even pinpoint the day this COVID feedback loop started eating itself, and us: March 20, 2020. On that day, the first of what has become a tide of jowly capitalists went onto the news networks wired with the claim that “low-risk,” low-wage workers should go back to work and let the virus “burn” their ranks.

The months that followed have turned into a deadly standoff between people who believe in science and are willing to take precautions to prevent even more mass deaths, and the people of “my freedom” who are willing to let COVID take away millions of people rather than submit to the crude tyranny of…masks and reasonable sanitary measures? If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it possible and would have walked out of any movie that dared to peddle such nonsense in a script.

The scenario itself, while absurd, is also simplicity itself: endure one deadly wave of COVID, but don’t prepare for the next one – and in the meantime, actively remove current defenses for people to go to work and spend money because, “It’s over!” NOPE, another massive wave of death followed by another wave of overdue restrictions followed by another wave of dark depression and despair.

Some of the smoke is clearing (again), restrictions are (again) being lifted in the name of the capitalist imperative (again), enough people are (still) being fooled into letting their guard down. NOPE, vaccine-resistant subvariant emerges of North Korea (theoretically) and devastate Southeast Asia in as much time as it takes to play the World Cup. Repeat the foam rinse, but this time slaughter is largely relegated to people like me – those with underlying medical risk factors – once it gets to those shores, because of course it will do, because the last thing we will do is restrict air travel…

Today, they’re calling the next COVID-related challenge a “stress test,” a chance to open all the doors and see how well things are going with hardly any standard precautions in place. “Whatever happens next, we are living the reality that the CDC councils bargained for,” writes Katherine J. Wu for Atlantic. “The country’s new COVID rules have asked us to sit, wait and watch. We may soon see the country’s true tolerance of disease and death on full display.

I don’t know exactly how or when the decision was made to follow this perilous path. It just sort of… happened, like an osmosis. A segment of the population found the ubiquitous permanent high gear masks and perfectly safe shots, capitalism whispered “Yeah what they said” through every available political and social channel.

Suddenly, here we are at the edge of a test that we are not ready to pass. There is enough evidence of this in public inquiries give a break. a february Washington Post/ABC News According to a poll, 58% of respondents say controlling the spread of COVID is the top priority. A Yahoo News a poll conducted precisely the same week has 51% saying that getting back to normal and “learning to live” with COVID is most important… and if we had ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs.

The polls suck, I know, but something’s wrong. David Lim from Politics Explain what a new wave of COVID will find when it arrives:

Covid-19 infections rebound in several European countries and Biden officials monitor infections in the UK, where cases have jumped more than 36 percent over the past week. Meanwhile, the number of molecular tests shipped weekly by major manufacturers in the United States has fallen by more than 50% in the past month.

Scott Becker, CEO of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, said the United States was repeating the same mistakes it made last summer when demand for tests plummeted and test makers scaled back their production. “It’s like we haven’t learned absolutely anything as a system during this pandemic,” Becker said. “I have no reason to believe it won’t happen again because they don’t have the demand.”

The test supply concern comes as the Biden administration warns Congress that unless it provides more than $22 billion in additional funding soon, the administration will not be able to buy new supplies. of medicines, vaccines, masks and tests. The White House plans on Tuesday to scrap federal grants that guarantee free testing to uninsured people due to a lack of funding.

This, even though the administration is about to approve a second booster, that is, a fourth overall shot, to help older Americans fight the virus. There is precedent for this – polio inoculation requires a four-dose schedule of this vaccine. But hmmm…why would we need another layer of protection if we have this thing in hand?

Answer: We don’t. This weird passage we walked into is the version of COVID politics of tossing the parachute out of the plane, then jumping after it. That big green thing rushing at you? Yeah, it’s the ground, which currently holds the remains of nearly a million lost souls in this country alone. Meanwhile, Omicron’s BA.2 sub-variant is ramping up the levels of hell in the world, with no certainty as to the severity of a real wave of infection. Currently, it accounts for more than 55% of new cases in New England and 34.9% nationally. If history is any guide, this wave is likely to come.

We weren’t ready before because everything was unprecedented. We are not ready now because the whisper campaign of capitalism combined with toxic right-wing politics was powerful enough to bend the knees of even the most staunch advocates of COVID politics. After all, it is an election year. In this, the country is not up to the task Uri Freedman’s new benchmark for national strength: The ability to take a punch, get knocked down and then get back up, no matter how many times it takes.

We are not ready for a new wave of COVID, deliberately. I shudder in my soul imagining the impending fury and fear, the anger of those who thought they had heard something hopeful, only to find it was God mocking their plans. The feedback loop continues, and there will be hell to pay.

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