State of the Union: The threat of reviving lockdowns and mask mandates appears to increase with every passing day.
Frankly, it’s annoying to have to think about Covid again. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been following the headlines creating unnecessary panic over the virus, feeling an unpleasant sense of 2020 deja vu. I am holding out hope that all this fuss will turn out to be mere fear mongering and virtue signaling, but it seems that the likelihood of new lockdowns and mask mandates increases with every day that passes.
Rumors that the restrictions of three years ago will be making a comeback by this December started with Alex Jones, who claimed that a TSA whistleblower informed him Covid measures were going to be taken to the next level in the coming months. Although fact checkers have emphatically denied Jones’s allegations, there have since been a slew of examples of Covid restrictions on the rise.
Consider Atlanta’s Morris Brown College, which has instituted a two week mask mandate (fifteen days to slow the spread? Sounds familiar?). The president of the college, Dr. Kevin James, said, “We prioritize your safety and seek your cooperation in preventing another pandemic.” As someone whose college years were deeply affected by the initial pandemic response, these words sound, to me, saturated with a familiar empty and virtue-signaling tone.
Outside of the university bubble, various airlines, Lionsgate, and other companies have begun to revive mask mandates and require their employees to test for Covid again, as “hospital rates continue to rise.” These institutions apparently fail to take into account that the purported increase in cases is being compared to the historic lows of Covid from this past year.
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The newest variant, “BA.2.86,” seems to be so concerning because, reportedly, the vaccines we already have and previous natural immunity may not be as effective against it. President Joe Biden, who assured us that the pandemic was over a while back, has now requested additional funding from Congress for the development of a new Covid vaccine, going so far as to say that he may even require us to take it—whether we have previously received a Covid vaccine or not.
Lockdowns and mandates bring something sinister with them. Over the years of pandemic restriction, we saw people conflate blind adherence to Covid measures with being a good person and questioning the government response with being anti-science, racist, or even white supremacist. During peak pandemic, there seemed to be few issues that rivaled the divisiveness of the masker vs. anti-masker debate. After everything we now know about Covid, especially the questionable effectiveness of masks and the vaccines, why are we rushing to bring all of these negative “solutions” back?
Is it simply for those in power to once again be able to boost their egos, taking delight in their authority over citizens who will be punished for questioning them or withstanding their rule? I hope we won’t have to find out.