Yogi Berra had it right. Those who believe that this global nightmare is over are overwhelmingly the reason why it’s not, nor will it be so long as their deadly delusion holds sway. Two thirds of the world is being held hostage by a motley faction of nitwits, political extremists, conspiracy freaks and just plain lazy, selfish assholes who are the witless agents of a homicidal virus just seven microns in size. I’m of course referring to the Cult of Denial: COVID deniers, vaccine deniers, mandate deniers, the whole witless lot of them.
The so-called 1918 “Spanish Flu” epidemic (which actually originated in Kansas) came at us in three waves. I remember reading about it when I was a kid. I was dumbfounded that people could be so stupid as to enable a disease which had already killed tens of thousands to return and kill hundreds of thousands more. And then again, and with so many failing to take basic common sense steps to protect themselves and their families.
Three waves of H1N1 hit the world beginning in the Spring of 1918, finally waning in the Summer of 1919. 18 months. 50 million people died worldwide; almost 3% of the world’s population. 675,000 Americans died, temporarily dropping the average life expectancy of Americans by twelve years. Surely, our superior modern medicine and our vastly more educated public would never see that nightmare again!
We’re now at Month 21 of this Coronavirus pandemic and on the cusp of the Fourth (or arguably Fifth) Wave. 790,000 Americans have already died from the disease and it’s expected to claim over a million lives before this wave is over. Given that the virus will use the opportunity to kill off a substantial number of COVID and vaccine deniers — 99% of hospital patients who died of the virus in 2021 were unvaccinated — it still won’t be enough. We can look forward to more waves going into 2022 unless the “my freedumbs!!” crowd changes their attitude dramatically. If anything, 21st Century imbeciles trump those in 1918. And you bet that pun was intended.
Bob forbid that the virus doesn’t stumble on a mutation that defeats the vaccine currently protecting 60% of us. With the lethality and vastly increased contagiousness of the current dominant strain it could potentially qualify as a mass extinction event after the hospitals max out, medical practitioners succumb to the virus and the supply chain becomes overcooked capellini.
Europe is bracing for a bad winter. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past two years, what happens over there is a preview of what’s Coming Here Soon. Germany, which has a higher percentage of its population fully vaccinated (65%) than the US, already has over twice as many daily infections than it saw during the entire pandemic. Austria (also 65% vaccinated) is experiencing its worst infections ever now too. The Netherlands and Belgium have already implemented lockdowns more aggressive than in 2020. And this wave is just getting started.
American health experts tell us that we’re also going to get hit hard but that it won’t be as bad as last December. I’m a commie liberal who generally trusts our medical establishment but I don’t know how they can be so sure of that. Germany wasn’t expecting this either. We’ve heard the term “herd immunity” volleyed a lot over the past 21 months: 70%, 80%, 85%, etc. “If we reach herd immunity SARS-CoV-2 will become yesterday’s news,” they say. Here’s the problem with herd immunity theory though: the immunity has be well-distributed to be effective. If you have pockets of low immunity, like West Virginia and Alabama, COVID will park there and strafe the stragglers in high immunity states. This is exactly what we’re seeing in Europe now. Every country in western Europe is more vaccinated that the US yet they’re at the cusp of what’s looking now like their most deadly wave yet.
Added: this morning, Austria announced a nationwide lockdown beginning this Monday with the only exceptions being schools and grocery stores. It also ordered a nationwide vaccine mandate for all Austrians by February, 2022. To my knowledge, this is the first national vaccine mandate, at least in the western world. It remains to be seen how Austria’s right-wing Freedom Party will respond to this. Probably the same as our own antivax dopes.
Added: Later today, Bavaria also went on partial lockdown, closing its traditional Christmas markets.
Guess who had a Gate1 Travel “Christmas Markets” trip planned and paid for Dec 6 departure?