Covid-19 – 18 months on

It has been a historical last 18 months in the battle against against an invisible enemy. One which we cannot see but has claimed over 600,000 lives in America and over 4 million globally. It has dominated our airwaves as we have struggled to get back to some semblance of a normal life. What has been most upsetting is the ability of the media, politicians and public to turn this into political theater. We have argued about the origin of the virus, have looked to others to blame for our own failures in dealing with the outbreak. When a solution was offered we were slow to accelerate the delivery of a vaccine. We are a society ripe to be seized by outrageous conspiracy theories, creating elaborate schemes out of thin air. We choose to live in fear rather than enjoy what life provides us every day. Reviewing the past 18 months of life can be both upsetting and therapeutic. It has been a journey none who lived through it will forget.

From my own perspective it has made life in some ways simple and mundane. I have worked from home since March 2020. I have no commute time, I simply get out of bed walk down the hall and grab my laptop and log on. Things I did before work, such as shower, eat, get dressed now occur during the day – sometimes early, sometimes later – all depending on what the days schedule has in store for me. The end of the day comes quickly and routinely. No need to worry about commute home, which has made my life at home simpler and more enjoyable. In how our family has interacted outside the home we have abided by the scientific recommendations and done our best to socially distance and wear mask coverings. I never found this to be an infringement on my individual rights as outlined in the Bill of Rights. In many ways life was better as it allowed me to focus on what are my core values. I was lucky on some fronts my children were all over 16 when the pandemic began and the adjustment to online learning was somewhat routine and easy. Not a lot of parental intervention was needed. They maintain a high GPA and one even graduated from college and had a job lined up, so our stress levels were low. Life mor eor less has been on cruise control.

What of course happened around me was of another concern. Anti-Vaccers claiming they knew the truth, they just could not explain it. They claimed they were better read than the rest of us, but cited no sources (or sources were on the fringe of the political spectrum). When vaccines were made available they would not be in line. What the alternative they were proposing as a solution to Covid we will likely never know. We had the anti-mask people who placed their individual liberties above the health and well being of their fellow citizens. If they truly believed what they were saying they should have gone to hospitals and told those on the front line they were being deceived, but they seemingly lacked the courage. Social distancing? Many hosted their own super spreader events, seemingly not understanding its not just what spreads when you are at the event but when you leave the event. It was there individual right to spread based on their own warped logic. Determined to make their way of life continue, while spreading death to those closest to them. What was frustrating is Covid is a influenza, just like the flu that comes every year (which many get a vaccine for). It is a airborne illness. It can spread just by someone close you breathing in your general direction. I think we all know at this point in life that if a friend has the flu I am not going over to their house and giving them a hug or a kiss, because we all know how contagious the flu is (in short we are practicing social distancing). With Covid-19 which is more transmissible and far more dangerous we have decided to plead ignorance.

There were of course those who could not understand why we would shut down the economy and to them I do extend sympathy as the way this was handled was not equal. Large retailers were open while mom and pops were closed. We needed to social distance. Where as large stores offered wide open spaces, the small stores were deemed dangerous. In a country where the economy looms ever larger we had to take a step back and those that got hurt those most were those that could least afford it. Once again the poor were asked to shoulder more of the burden of a nation’s suffering. In the meantime my stock portfolio continued to boom, i was doing well. Rich states who had advanced industry were much better positioned to weather the storm. If you worked for a Apple, Microsoft or Google working from home was a simple email and the rest was done via Zoom. Our service workers suffered the most as restaurant’s and many other social gathering places were forced to shut down

During this time there were things that happened that caused what was already a distressful situation to further escalate. We had the killing of George Floyd that led to Black Lives Matter and mass protest across the nation. We had a President, whos own words never masked his stupidity. We had an election that was contested without evidence, but has led to calls for recounts (recounted – unsuccessful). We had a Michigan militia plot the kidnapping and murder of the states governor. Wild fires ravaged the west, destroying the city of Paradise, CA. It seemed like over the last 18 months we could never come up for air. Everytime we tried to turn a corner and take a step forward we took two steps back. It highlights the fact that no matter the crisis they cannot shield you from social unrest, especially in an age where information is everywhere

Now that in the US we near the finish line, though covid variants and anti-vaccers will push that line out a little further, the war rages on. In the US it has become a state by state test as to who will succeed and who will fail. How do we define success? Vaccination rates. Because the vaccines were approved as an emergency measure there is fear among some in public that the vaccines are not safe. I worry about this lack of urgency to get vaccinated as numbers start to rise again with a new variant on the march. The numbers are clear where states low on vaccination rates versus higher, the lower is not doing well. Death rates will start to increase again as the newer Delta variant which has proven to be more lethal and more selective. We seem to vilify experts, with more emotional reason than scientific reason. In the end we will get what we deserve. As the Delta variant begins to encroach on our lives and pull us back down a path we have been before. As I write a large part of the world does not have access to vaccines and now must battle the variant and in parts of the US the numbers have started to climb due to ignorance.

I wish I could say we are at the end, but there are those who view this as a hoax, a government conjured scare. An attack from the left of the political spectrum. At the end of the day it will be self created and self inflicted fake news. The only thing that ever mattered was saving lives and nursing to health those that had been infected with COVID-19. In the end we will get the death toll we deserve and the historians will be left to write the epitaph of our nations failure, because politics was more important than life.

Good Night and Good Luck

Hans Henrik Hoffmann July 28, 2021

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