COVID Panic Is Back

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

It won't be long before the seasons change and fall is ushered in. That usually means cooler weather, football, and the leaves changing color. This is 2023, though, so it also means it's time for yet another round of COVID-19 panic, and sure enough, the latest iteration of a "Winter of severe illness and death" is being prepped. 

To illustrate that, a deluge of mainstream press stories has dropped recently promoting a new variant that goes by the official moniker BA.2.86. It has been nicknamed Eris, named after the Greek goddess of strife and discord. You know, just to give it that little bit of extra sizzle.

As usual, the hype doesn't really match the reality of the situation. In fact, scientists aren't even sure if this variant has the ability to spread widely given only a few cases have been found worldwide. No matter, though, because overall cases are supposedly rising, and that's enough to kick the machine into high gear. In New York, for example, a mask mandate has already been reinstated. That despite the fact that masks have been proven over and over to be highly ineffective at stopping the spread of COVID-19

Meanwhile, here's CBS News reporting on the coming "wave." 

Lost in the fear porn being put out is any discussion on what a wave would even result in. Let's assume everything the press is saying is correct about the numbers. Let's assume there's a large uptick in cases as the year drags on and that there's even a new variant to contend with that can spread widely.

What does that actually translate to when natural immunity is so widespread? Looking at the CDC's death data, COVID deaths have reached their lowest levels since the pandemic began (CDC data gathering started in mid-March 2020). Clearly, the virus is not nearly as deadly as it used to be, and if you extrapolate deaths based on the most recent week's death totals, you get a yearly death total that is under your average flu season.

Even if there is a spike in cases, causing deaths to somewhat rise, the numbers would still be easily manageable. Certainly, there's no justification to bring back mask mandates and lockdowns. Yet, that's exactly what's being talked about in the press.

An especially cynical onlooker might notice that we are entering what is traditionally election season, with the first primary debate set to happen on Wednesday. Regardless, I don't think there's any chance Americans would abide by any kind of strong mitigation measures again. That ship has sailed and sunk to the bottom of the ocean due to the abuses of the scientific community in lying to people for their own good. Who is going to trust the CDC at this point? 

Perhaps there's a silver lining, though. Maybe, this will be a reminder for Americans to actually seek some accountability for what was done to them during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. We sure moved on from that quickly, didn't we? We shouldn't have.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece has been updated to include links to studies published in April 2021, May 2021, and January 2023 related to the inefficacy of face masks in stopping the spread of COVID-19.)


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