Saturday, March 12, 2022

Year Three of the Pandemic Begins With a Whimper

My resigned pandemic sadness theme song

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of 3/11/2020, the day the pandemic became truly "real" in the United States. I had long hoped that we would turn this anniversary into a day of reflection and remembrance, but yesterday hardly anyone seemed to notice. Sure there were op-eds in the major papers, but that was about it.

Much of this has to do with fatigue, certainly, but there's a more willful denialism at play here. Reflecting on the past and remembering the dead would just be an embarrassment to so many. Our authorities, who have completely failed to adequately respond to the moment, certainly don't want that discussed. The third of Americans who have elected to not even bother readjusting their lives of course have no interest in taking an anniversary like this seriously. Why start now? Republicans of all kinds don't want Trump's obvious malfeasance in this discussed, nor are Democrats willing to acknowledge how the Biden administration has not made good on its COVID promises (or its glaring failure to prepare for Omicron.)

Meanwhile, people keep dying. Cases are dropping and I myself am allowing myself more freedom, but well over a thousand people a day keep dying. The seven day daily average of deaths has not dipped below one thousand since early December, which was a few day blip of average deaths over a thousand going back to August 21st. For well over six months that daily average has been in the four figures the whole time apart from one week. 

I brought this up to one of my students this week, who had no idea. They were not particularly ignorant by any means, just reflecting how normalized this has all been. I am definitely glad that cases are so low. I am excited that my parents are visiting this week and that I am able to go out and do more things. However, I also know that nothing will be learned from this pandemic. Not one little thing. From gun violence to infant mortality to lead pipes to our broken health care system to the pandemic, life is cheap in America. I knew this before the pandemic, I just never knew the true enormity of it. 

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