The moderate position on COVID was always as follows:
- COVID is a real virus
- COVID is a moderately lethal, highly infectious virus that mainly kills fat people and sick and very old people. Those are the major risk factors
- COVID is a serious problem and is one of the worst pandemics in American history. We had no natural immunity to the virus.
- COVID isn’t a serious problem for children or young people or even most middle aged people
- In the early stages of the pandemic, it was reasonable to impose travel restrictions on hot zones
- Pandemics are a natural phenomena that tend to recur every 50 years or so. The last two influenza pandemics were in 1957 and 1968. We were due to be hit by another pandemic
- There would eventually be a vaccine and the timing of the end of the pandemic would depend on the rollout of the vaccine
- It is not a big deal to wear a mask in public places as a courtesy to others and to help stop the spread of the virus
- It makes no sense to wear a mask outdoors in hot and humid weather or in your car or when you are around people you live with 24/7 in your own household
- COVID is not the end of the world. It was just another historic event like the Spanish Flu
- This would all be over one day
As for the lockdowns, it worked in countries like China, but our culture and system of government is so different that the policy proved to be a disaster here. We ended up with the worst of both worlds. In some states (this varied widely), there were draconian lockdowns that devastated the economy which proved to be pointless because of the resignation that followed the chaotic reopenings. If there hadn’t been any lockdowns, the same number of people would probably have ultimately died anyway.
There were always some neurotic people, however, who were not following the science (i.e., there was never any real threat to children) so much as virtue signaling and acting out. They loved the disruption that was caused by COVID. They loved wearing a mask because it was a way to express their own progressive identity and political leanings. More than anything else, they loved the power trip and the opportunity to control other people. They want to go living like this even after they have been vaccinated and it is becoming a source of embarrassment and aggravation for their fellow progressives.
“Lurking among the jubilant americans venturing back out to bars and planning their summer-wedding travel is a different group: liberals who aren’t quite ready to let go of pandemic restrictions. For this subset, diligence against COVID-19 remains an expression of political identity—even when that means overestimating the disease’s risks or setting limits far more strict than what public-health guidelines permit. In surveys, Democrats express more worry about the pandemic than Republicans do. People who describe themselves as “very liberal” are distinctly anxious. This spring, after the vaccine rollout had started, a third of very liberal people were “very concerned” about becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, compared with a quarter of both liberals and moderates, according to a study conducted by the University of North Carolina political scientist Marc Hetherington. And 43 percent of very liberal respondents believed that getting the coronavirus would have a “very bad” effect on their life, compared with a third of liberals and moderates. …
The spring of 2021 is different from the spring of 2020, though. Scientists know a lot more about how COVID-19 spreads—and how it doesn’t. Public-health advice is shifting. But some progressives have not updated their behavior based on the new information. …
Months slipped by, and evidence mounted that schools could reopen safely. In Somerville, a local leader appeared to describe parents who wanted a faster return to in-person instruction as “fucking white parents” in a virtual public meeting; a community member accused the group of mothers advocating for schools to reopen of being motivated by white supremacy. …
And so as the rest of vaccinated America begins its summer of bacchanalia, rescheduling long-awaited dinner parties and medium-size weddings, the most hard-core pandemic progressives are left, Cassandra-like, to preach their peers’ folly. Every weekday, Zachary Loeb publishes four “plague poems” on Twitter—little missives about the headlines and how it feels to live through a pandemic. He is personally progressive: He blogs about topics like Trump’s calamitous presidency and the future of climate change. He also studies disaster history. (“I jokingly tell my students that my reputation in the department is as Mr. Doom, but once I have earned my Ph.D., I will officially be Dr. Doom,” he told me.) His Twitter avatar is the plague doctor: a beaked, top-hat-wearing figure who traveled across European towns treating victims of the bubonic plague. …”
Some people are pivoting back to their normal obsessions like racism or climate change.
Republicans and Independents were done caring about COVID by the middle of March. It is highly educated Democrats who are still obsessed with it. It is their top issue.