COVID doesn't care
While hospitals are still fighting a huge wave of COVID-19 cases, verified talking heads on social media and TV are having a heated discussion about whether we should be "done" with the pandemic. (Not that the pandemic cares: New U.S. cases and hospitalizations are starting to fall from record highs as the Omicron surge peaks, but an average of 2,018 Americans are still dying each day from the virus.)
MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan went on a "60-second rant" Sunday night about the "done with COVID" crowd, singling out Bari Weiss and her denunciation of ongoing COVID restrictions on Friday night's Real Time With Bill Maher. "The people who should be complaining right now are our overworked health-care workers," he said, very fast. "But no, it's never them moaning or whingeing about the pandemic — it's the Bari Weisses and Bill Mahers and Tucker Carlsons of this world!"
"My young children have handled this pandemic more maturely and less childishly than the likes of Bari Weiss, who — I'm sorry — can't go to as many indoor parties as she'd like to," Hasan concluded.
Weiss made a slightly more nuanced case on Real Time, while Maher's other panelist, Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), noted that restrictions are easing even as people are still dying from COVID-19 in large numbers.
Alex Pareene, in the essay Hasan cited, said he finds "the tenor of discussion around COVID-19 restrictions genuinely bewildering," because "there basically aren't any." Despite the "well-publicized opining" from "people for whom COVID-19 is just a thing they are sick of hearing and thinking about," he argued, "the United States is powering through the Omicron wave with its usual enforced individualism. The hard restrictions on our activities are, for the most part, not mandated or enforced by the state, acting at the behest of liberals who refuse to go back to normal because they are addicted to panic and quarantine; the limits are imposed by the virus that isn't going away."
Pareene noted that his child's New York City school, like most schools, is open, even though lots of students and teachers are out with COVID. "As usual in the United States," he said, "the people who won the political argument are now complaining the loudest that they're dissatisfied with the results, and, apparently, it's all the fault of the losers." Read his full essay at The AP (Alex Pareene) Newsletter.