Covid Is Making Us Stupid, and We’re Letting It Run Wild
We’re already paying the price.
Covid is making us stupid.
The conspiracy theorists have noticed. People just don’t seem as sharp as they did a month ago. They’re forgetting things. They’re driving sloppy. They’re acting confused all the time. They don’t know what could possibly be making everyone act like this, but they’re sure it’s not the virus they’ve spent the last two years calling a plot for world domination.
It’s not just the conspiracy theorists.
A new study in Nature highlights the brain trauma that results from even “mild” cases of Covid, including declines in cognitive function and even the amount of grey matter. Yes, you read right.
Covid shrinks your brain.
Shrunken brains aren’t good for the economy. As such, we remain mired in a global labor shortage that’s exacerbating supply chain problems. A growing number of businesses say Long Covid has kept them from hiring and staffing. You can read about it, or you can just open your eyes. I mean, stuff takes longer than ever to arrive in the mail now, even if you’re using your precious prime shipping. The shelves look thinner and thinner by the week. I don’t care about Starbucks or Chick-fil-A, but I also can’t help but notice the insanely long lines of unhappy people at the drive-thrus.
This is a different kind of pandemic fatigue. Everyone’s tired. Everyone’s in a bad mood. Everyone’s in a fog.
Everyone feels sick, because they are.
Gosh, I wonder why.
This is what we get for being stupid.
Stupid begets stupid.
More studies keep coming out that show what Long Covid does to you. It shrinks your brain. It destroys your organs. It leaves you exhausted, dazed and confused, for months and even years, maybe forever.
We’ve learned a lot about how Covid works. We’ve figured out that this “mild” Covid only appears mild in the short term. It might replicate slower in your lungs, but it still replicates all over your body. That’s where it does the lasting damage. It can take anywhere from four to six weeks for a mild case of Covid to take its toll on you, especially on anyone who thinks they’ve recovered and tries to get back to their normal life too soon.
Those people who try to snap back to their old routines, because they thought they just had a little cold, they’re actually the most likely to wind up with severe chronic illness.
So, this is why our economy continues to crawl. A huge number of people are seeing the onset of Long Covid. We have exactly what a handful of experts tried to warn everyone about, an emerging population with long term mental and physical disability.
It’s only going to get worse from here.
Someone should’ve listened.
Our leaders are lying through their teeth.
We’re clearly seeing the fallout now of the poor decisions our politicians made during the Omicron wave. Either they didn’t learn anything, or they don’t care. They’ve chosen to elevate political and economic expedience over our health and safety. Democrats sound almost exactly like Republicans did when it comes to masks. They’re pressuring everyone to take them off. They’re insisting on schools opening without protections.
Like I said, stupid begets stupid.
Organizations like the CDC and WHO seem to be engaging in a weird kind of doublespeak now. On the one hand, they’re telling us there’s nothing to worry about with new variants. On the other, they’re reporting that BA.2 or “stealth omicron” is doubling every week.
And yet, we shouldn’t be worried?
The Biden Administration’s Covid response, especially under Jeffrey Zients, has made returning to “normal” a clear priority. So they’re doing everything they can to cloud the data. Even as scientists agree that the coronavirus doesn’t behave like any cold or flu we’ve ever seen, the official message has been it’s time to head back to the office. It’s time to go to movies. It’s time to go shopping. It’s time to eat out.
Gosh, I wonder why.
We’re in a death spiral.
Our leaders have trapped themselves. The economy is suffering because everyone’s too sick to work. They’re trying to solve this problem by lying about the very source of the problem.
In other words…
Instead of actually helping the economy by doubling down on protections like masks and ventilation, they’re doing the opposite. They’re telling everyone to cast their protections aside. Billionaires are packing the mainstream media with medically-sanctioned pundits who assure us everything’s fine. They won’t say a word about chronic illness. They won’t mention that small children remain unvaccinated and vulnerable, and we honestly have no idea when they’ll even be eligible for a shot.
They won’t talk about breakthrough infections. They won’t talk about the declining efficacy of vaccines.
It’s all very alarming.
There’s nothing conspiratorial about it. This is just how predatory capitalism works. You say and do whatever you have to do in order to convince everyone to go to work, to go out shopping, to go out and party. They treat workers and consumers as expendable. If we get sick, there’s always more. Just keep telling women to pump out more babies.
This plan doesn’t rise to the complexity level of a conspiracy theory, because it’s such so transparently stupid. This is how capitalism has always worked, for the last two hundred years. It’s been the logic behind everything from coal mines to cigarettes to fast food. It doesn’t matter if it’s healthy. It doesn’t matter if it’s safe.
The only thing that matters in this twisted brand of capitalism is how much money you can make off someone, and how much labor you can extract from them, before they die on you.
Covid is revealing the flaws of the system.
Normally, systemic exploitation by capitalism works just fine. Enough people profit from it that they don’t want to change anything. There’s enough labor to exploit, you never run out.
Well, not anymore.
Capitalism is a horrible system for dealing with an ongoing public health crisis. It’s not meant for dealing with persistent, ongoing threats like the collapse of our environment, either.
Covid is teaching us a few valuable lessons. First, you really can run out of workers. You really can run out of customers. It’s hard to believe, but that’s exactly what we’re seeing. Women can get so burned out and exhausted, they decide they’re not going to have any more kids. They’re not going to raise the next generation of loyal customers.
Our leaders stupidly decided to let a dangerous virus spread through the entire population. They actually wanted it to happen, not because they were evil masterminds. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
They were exceedingly stupid.
They bought into the hype that if you let everyone get infected at once with a “mild” form of a disease, then somehow we would achieve this magical herd immunity everyone’s been talking about. They were willing to kill off a portion of their vulnerable population to do it. They thought we’d be over and done with Covid by now. They sincerely believed Covid would go the way of the 1918 Spanish Flu. They had no evidence, except some flawed studies from South Africa, and a whole lot of empty hope.
They were wrong.
This is going to keep happening.
We’re nowhere near the end of Covid.
The latest consensus among serious scientists is that we’ve unleashed something terrible into the world, something more along the lines of smallpox or polio or malaria than a flu.
How bad is it?
Well, we know that in the long term, neither vaccines nor natural immunity are going to give us the permanent protection we wanted. We know that the big pharma companies are moving way too slow to keep up with variants. We know that waves won’t just happen in the winter months. There’s going to be spring and summer surges, too.
Because there have been.
We know that even “mild” cases of Covid can lead to crippling disabilities. We know that the virus keeps mutating to become more contagious and immune-resistant, but not necessarily less deadly.
Most importantly, we know that getting infected once doesn’t mean you’re safe. If anything, we know now that it leaves you with stealth preconditions that lurk in your body, making you more vulnerable during the next wave. Each wave, your odds get worse.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Hop on to bioRxiv and medRxiv servers. Read the studies in JAMA, Nature, or The Lancet. Read the handful of stories on the mainstream media that aren’t full of wishful thinking. Scroll through Twitter, and look at all the people struggling.
It’s all there.
Yes, there’s lots of solutions.
Okay, here’s the point where the optimists keep getting angry and blowing up. They think we’re saying everything’s hopeless, and we’re doomed. I don’t know how many times we’ve heard this argument now, but there are solutions staring us right in the face.
We just have to wear N95 masks. We just have to treat these masks like public safety tools instead of commodities. Our governments should be paying companies like 3M to mass produce them. The CDC should be putting out instructional videos on how to wear an N95 properly. Local hospitals and public health agencies should be training teachers on how to put them on, and the teachers should be training the kids.
Parents should be encouraging this.
We should be upgrading the ventilation in offices and schools. We should be devising programs to let children learn remotely if they want to, and let parents work from home.
Instead, we’ve done the exact opposite of what we needed to. Yoga moms and golf bag dads have made life a living hell for school boards. They’ve attacked principals and teachers. Half our politicians nurtured this aggressive insanity for their own political gain. The other half succumbed to exhaustion and capitulated. Billionaires organized massive misinformation campaigns to shame and gaslight us into participating in the same old capitalism, convincing millions to disregard their own health.
Now, here we are.
We’re flying blind straight into another surge. This time, we’re less prepared than ever. This surge will leave us another hundred thousand dead, another five or ten million disabled.
If you’re worried about learning loss in schools, or economic productivity, or the long term survival of our society, then think about what happens as we continue allowing a dangerous virus to run free and wild through the world, with no plans to do anything about it, and only concerned with our so-called freedoms in the short term. Think about the freedoms you’ll lose when you personally feel too sick to do anything, and when the economy collapses further because there’s nobody to make our food or deliver it to the stores, and it keeps happening.
Think about it.