Millions of people are currently protesting around the world, as governments enact measures that would be dismissed as conspiracy-theories a year ago. The idea that the government would force anyone in the general public to get vaccinated was denounced by most people in positions of authority, yet nonetheless it is now in the process of being enacted.
For anyone critical of the mainstream narrative, this comes as no surprise. Ever since the first lockdowns, governments have sought to to instil the message that we need to take drastic measures to fight off the virus, and that anyone failing to comply is a direct threat to everyone else.
The message then transitioned into a talking-point parroted by many leaders: if people don’t comply we will be forced to reinstate lockdowns. An interesting threat considering the fact that the only entities actually forcing the lockdowns are the governments themselves. Agree or disagree, it is a way to respond to the virus, and not something we are being forced to do.
What this narrative sought to instil, was the belief that if we would all simply comply, life would return to normal. Thus, a seed of polarity was planted, that quickly sprouted into a division of opinion, starting with mask-wearing and lockdowns, that has now reached its pinnacle in matter of vaccine-mandates.
The situation has developed in to a form of trench-warfare, were energy is spent on criticising and demonising the opposition, while the real dialogue needed for us to understand the perspectives of each other is hardly present.
In some sense what has been manufactured is a “perpetual war”, in the sense that the virus has been used to keep people in a continuous state of fear, with a constantly moving goal-post and a clear scape-goat, all of which ends up excusing profound centralisation of power and removal of civil liberty.
In a situation like this, what is needed most of all is to, despite our animosity, understand those with views which oppose our own and furthermore to be willing to question the beliefs we ourselves hold to.
This may be challenging and time-consuming, but that is no longer a valid excuse. We are attempting to force parts of the population to be vaccinated against their will, foregoing their bodily autonomy on account of our fear.
The drastic nature of this should not be downplayed, and if we are truly willing to sanction it, we should at least put our beliefs to the test before doing so.
Some questions that need to be asked are:
- Why did Sweden, with its relatively mild policies, see rates of hospitalisation and mortality equal to or lower than most countries with highly strict measures, such as France, Belgium, Spain? One could say that Sweden had higher rates than Denmark, Norway, Finland, that had harsher measures, but on the global or European scale, these countries are statistical outliers and also don’t discredit a comparison between Sweden and, for example, Belgium.
- Why are we currently seeing that most of the countries and US states and counties with the highest rates of vaccinations have the highest rates of spread and vice versa for the areas with lower rates of vaccination seeing less spread? One may argue that it is the fault of the remaining unvaccinated individuals, but this would be countered by the fact that the Covid-vaccines do not prevent one from contracting and spreading the virus, but merely to ease symptoms and complications.
A recent study from Harvard “investigate[s] the relationship between the percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases across 68 countries and across 2947 counties in the US.” It found that:
At the country-level, there appears to be no discernable relationship between percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases in the last 7 days (Fig. 1). In fact, the trend line suggests a marginally positive association such that countries with higher percentage of population fully vaccinated have higher COVID-19 cases per 1 million people. Notably, Israel with over 60% of their population fully vaccinated had the highest COVID-19 cases per 1 million people in the last 7 days. The lack of a meaningful association between percentage population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases is further exemplified, for instance, by comparison of Iceland and Portugal. Both countries have over 75% of their population fully vaccinated and have more COVID-19 cases per 1 million people than countries such as Vietnam and South Africa that have around 10% of their population fully vaccinated.
In summary, even as efforts should be made to encourage populations to get vaccinated it should be done so with humility and respect. Stigmatizing populations can do more harm than good. Importantly, other non-pharmacological prevention efforts (e.g., the importance of basic public health hygiene with regards to maintaining safe distance or handwashing, promoting better frequent and cheaper forms of testing) needs to be renewed in order to strike the balance of learning to live with COVID-19 in the same manner we continue to live a 100 years later with various seasonal alterations of the 1918 Influenza virus.
The actions we are taking towards each other are becoming increasingly vicious, and what is driving us to do so is fear disguised as moral and intellectual superiority.
We need to be willing to challenge any beliefs that would have us endorse these measures, and there are plenty of scientists conducting studies like the one above, helping us broaden and deepen our understandings.
There are many more questions to answer and studies to read, and this article contains a drop in an ocean of available information.
It was with the last revolution and the coming of INGSOC (Inglish/English Socialism) that the latest High learnt how to keep their position permanently — by cultivating ignorance among the other classes and by constantly surveying them through the Thought Police. Part of this strategy included the maintenance of a state of continual warfare, which Goldstein discussed in the third chapter. The three major powers were not fighting this perpetual war for victory; they were fighting to keep a state of emergency always present as the surest guarantee of authoritarianism. — George Orwell
Subramanian, S V, and Akhil Kumar. “Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States.” European journal of epidemiology, 1–4. 30 Sep. 2021, doi:10.1007/s10654–021–00808–7