by Zero Hedge
In Colorado, reported cases and hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients are at higher levels than ever before. And yet politicians are worried that if they issue new stay-at-home orders, the public won’t obey them. For instance the Denver Post last week reported Colorado Democrats admitted the public isn’t listening very closely anymore:
[State Senator Steve] Fenberg and many other state leaders are worried … about whether a stay-at-home order would even work this time around. People have grown accustomed to certain freedoms since the spring, and already there are some in the population resistant even to the least oppressive rules, such as wearing masks.
“They don’t want to have restrictive orders that people just entirely ignore,” Fenberg said. “Once you cross that line, that seriously, then it really starts to unravel, when people completely check out from following the orders.”
We’ll ignore the creepy framing of the issue around how citizens have lamentably “grown accustomed to certain freedoms” like being able to leave one’s home. But Fenberg is right to think the public is unlikely to be nearly as compliant this time around.
And what happens if Americans start acting as if there is no pandemic? Then, the pandemic is at a de facto end, even if “experts” insist that it is still a de jure reality.
Medical Pandemics vs. Social Pandemics
In other words, government agencies may issue declarations of when Pandemics end, but as noted in The New York Times last May,
pandemics typically have two types of endings: the medical, which occurs when the incidence and death rates plummet, and the social, when the epidemic of fear about the disease wanes.
“When people ask, ‘When will this end?,’ they are asking about the social ending,” said Dr Jeremy Greene, a historian of medicine at Johns Hopkins. In other words, an end can occur not because a disease has been vanquished but because people grow tired of panic mode and learn to live with a disease
This has happened before. During the 1957-1958 Asian flu pandemic, for example, the public took little notice of the fact the flu was especially virulent that year. It is now estimated that more than 100,000 died from the flu in the period, which would be the equivalent of 220,000 Americans today. Indeed, American continued to die from the Asian flu into the 1960 flu season and beyond. But as far as the public was concerned, there had been no pandemic that required staying home or closing schools.