Recognize that people are "worn out" and feeling real harm from the years- long restrictions and take their side. Most Americans have personally moved out of crisis mode. Twice as many voters are now more concerned about COVID's effect on the economy (49%) than about someone in their family or someone they know becoming infected with the coronavirus (24%). [...]
The more we talk about the threat of COVID and onerously restrict people's lives because of it, the more we turn them against us and show them we're out of touch with their daily realities. [...]
Don't set "COVID zero" as the victory condition. Americans also don't think victory is COVID Zero. They think the virus is here to stay, and 83% say the pandemic will be over when it's a mild illness like the flu rather than COVID being completely gone, and 55% prefer that COVID should be treated as an endemic disease. [...]
Americans also assume they will get COVID: 77% agree that "it is inevitable that most people in the US will eventually get COVID-19", and 61% of Americans who have never tested positive think they are likely to be infected over the next year. [...]
When 99% of Americans can get vaccinated, we cause more harm than we prevent with voters by going into our third year talking about restrictions. And, if Democrats continue to hold a posture that prioritizes COVID precautions over learning how to live in a world where COVID exists, but does not dominate, they risk paying dearly for it in November.
In other words: facts don't matter, only feelings matter, and what's the point in saving lives if you're just going to lose the midterms anyway?
If people already think they're going to catch a deadly disease, who are we to stand in their way?
Western politicians and public health officials have managed to craft a fictional universe in which we have reached endemicity, where infection is now "mild" and getting "milder" by the variant, where COVID-19 is "like the flu," where mass infection builds a "wall of immunity" and where voluntary vaccination alone is our ticket out of the pandemic. [...]
A functioning democracy requires some common ground upon which its citizens can agree. COVID-19 gaslighting erodes that common ground. It erodes trust in government and public health, as well as institutions, like school boards, that follow their cue.
It undermines the public authority of medicine and biomedical science to guide us through the pandemic. Just as climate change has been subjected to "bothsidesism," we now increasingly hear about "both sides" of COVID-19. When politicians encourage us to "move on," COVID denialism becomes a respectable opinion.