We’re All Guinea Pigs

Image by John Valentino.

The same people who spiked the ball over the end of the pandemic are whining about inconsistent statements from the CDC. The reason for the inconsistency is that COVID is a moving target.

The CDC has to be nimble in its response. Has the response been perfect? Of course not. It’s a human institution run by people. We’re fallible and so are scientists. Under its current leadership, the CDC’s actions are honest and based on science not on the wishful thinking coming out of the Trump White House.

Repeat after me: Wishful Thinking Kills.

As a daily reader of the Guardian I watched the Delta variant rip through the UK and elsewhere. I began to tell people that it was not over both here and elsewhere. I take no pleasure in being right about this. Wanting things to return to normal isn’t the same as it being normal. Wishful thinking is lethal in this context.

Repeat after me: Wishful Thinking Kills.

We all have pandemic fatigue. We’re all exasperated by the willfully unvaccinated. Too much of the pandemic’s burden has been borne by the responsible and vaccinated majority. I get all that but that doesn’t mean that we can pretend it’s over.

Repeat after me: Wishful Thinking Kills.

Some anti-vaxx sentiment was inevitable. Contrarianism is as American as apple pie. There’s always someone who is skeptical of everything that comes out of government. What’s different this time is that a major political party is anti-vaxx and anti-mask. That’s resulted in a slice of the country that refuses to get vaccinated. The malakatude, it burns.

Josh Marshall nailed our current dilemma last week:

COVID is an evolving pathogen. Our knowledge of it is evolving. We’re basically conducting, against our will, a live subject study with the entire human population. Science isn’t a book with all the answers. It’s an empirical process. By its nature it’s tentative and evolving. We are learning about the efficacy of the best vaccines. We’re learning about Delta COVID. And we’re trying to figure out how the two interact.

The scientific method involves trial and error. Our role in the process is to mask up and stay safe.

We’re all lab rats.

We’re all Guinea pigs.

The last word goes to They Might Be Giants with a song that includes these lyrics, “A scientific theory isn’t just a hunch or guess. It’s more like a question that’s been put through a lot of tests.”

Repeat after me: Wishful Thinking Kills.