The Covid Debate Isn’t A Medical Issue, It’s A Social One

By Gwen Farrell
·  6 min read
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If you’ve been told in the last 15 months or so that you and your family are selfish, careless people for going about your business or normal lives without considering how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting everyone else, you’re not alone.

If you’ve been lectured ad nauseam by news outlets, social media platforms, elected officials, etc. on the importance of following guidelines meant to supposedly protect us, you’re also not alone. There’s just one problem – the Covid policy debate isn’t a medical issue, it’s a social one.

By now, most of us are pretty well aware of Covid’s effects on our lives. Even as variants develop and the so-called science of pandemic expert-turned state-approved celebrity Dr. Anthony Fauci fluctuates, to our mainstream culture, the pandemic is not over. For the average citizen and their family, this news is disheartening, but to the elite, it couldn’t be less of a problem.

Covid Has No Meaningful Effect Whatsoever on the Elite

Since the beginning of the pandemic, it’s been made clear to us tragically common people that for politicians, media figures, celebrities, and the other privileged few, the pandemic is merely an inconvenience more than anything else.

We’re lectured with wagging fingers that not getting vaccinated is the most entitled and self-absorbed action we could possibly conceive. Meanwhile… 

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot says that the city might be “forced” to reinstate some of the nation’s strictest policy measures to curb the spread of possible new variants. Just weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of people descended on Chicago’s Grant Park for the annual Lollapalooza festival. The event, where the price of just a day’s admission is $130, had an estimated 350,000 attendees, yet no city officials expressed concern over the possibility of the event causing a surge in Chicago’s Covid cases (while simultaneously, South Dakota’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was quickly labeled a superspreader event and its attendees lambasted). 

There’s no basis for moral posturing from elites when their lives haven’t essentially changed. 

In the aftermath of the festival, city officials seemed pleased as punch to declare that there was no evidence to suggest that the four-day gathering resulted in an increase in cases. Then, just three days later, it was reported that 200 positive Covid tests had been linked to the festival. While 200 out of an estimated 350,000 isn’t a superspreader, it’s also not nothing. 

If you’re asking yourself why these two events with nothing in common could be depicted so differently in the media, take a moment to think about it. Who’s more likely to blindly support progressive policies, swarms of young Millennials and Gen Zers (who can afford to pay thousands of dollars to attend a four-day festival), or a group of bikers who publicly display symbols of American pride?

Communities Bear the Consequences 

Former president Barack Obama was in the news recently as well, when it was revealed that he planned to host his 60th birthday party at his $12 million estate on Martha’s Vineyard. When the original plans were released, many criticized the decision to have a huge bash in the wake of concern over the Delta variant. It was then announced by the Obama family spokesperson that the original party plans would be significantly scaled back out of concern for the variant, only including “family and friends.”

But scaled back is not a term many would apply to what actually took place. Celebrities like Dwayne Wade as well as John Legend and Chrissy Teigen descended on the Cape Cod island, drawing deserved ire from many. Climate czar John Kerry even flew in (on his private jet, of course). One guest, in a social media post, called it “the party of all parties.”

If you’re feeling a disconnect, you’re paying attention. Parents all over the country are going to community meetings, fighting for the option for their children to go maskless in schools. Businesses in cities that have recently implemented vaccine passports face ridicule, financial penalties, and closure if they don’t comply with the measures. Families and friendships have become irretrievably broken through these heated discourses, and the economy continues to suffer, even as a pressing geopolitical catastrophe unfolds in front of our very eyes. But none of those realities could be further from the minds of the guests on Martha’s Vineyard.

After Obama’s party, more people tested positive for Covid than ever before, overrunning the hospital.

Neither could the consequences of such an event. A lavish party with a star-studded guest list is all well and good for the former president, but he was either completely ignorant or just uncaring regarding what inevitably came next. The Vineyard Gazette reports that in the wake of the party, more individuals have tested positive for Covid than ever before. In fact, the island’s hospital is overrun and there’s not sufficient staff to care for other patients. 

These are the people who actually have to deal with the aftermath of this fiasco. Celebrities and other political elites can leave everything behind once they’ve left the island, but unfortunately, the businesses, healthcare system, and locals affected by this act of narcissism will have to clean up the mess not of their making.

Nothing Has Changed

It seems hyperbolic to say that for some, the pandemic hasn’t changed or affected anything. But it’s clear that with enough money, public recognition, popularity, acclaim, and social status, life can continue as it always has, regardless of how the everyday lives of the majority are irrevocably changed.

If anything, these actions by the supposedly most caring and selfless among us send a valuable message to the rest of us: question whatever, argue, and educate yourselves all you want – it changes nothing.

Make the best and correct decision for you.

This is the societal norm as it’s always been, unfortunately. But it also means that there’s no reason for us to be lectured while blatant, unapologetic hypocrisy stares us in the face. There’s no basis for moral posturing from elites, claiming to help, when their lives haven’t essentially changed. 

With this in mind, when confronted with the apparent “moral” objections of those who can’t relate to us in any way, instead, make the best and correct decision for you. The Covid debate has evolved in the past year, and it’s no longer focused on emphasizing safety, security, or the health and wellbeing of everyone. It’s also not out of line to point out that those arguing for social punishment for those of us who know better and for other stringent policy decisions won’t be affected at all. 

Closing Thoughts

If this global nightmare has taught us anything, it’s that those who claim to care the most about us, our families, our incomes, our inalienable rights, and our lives don’t care at all.

And what’s more, we shouldn’t expect them to. Well-regarded public celebrities or elected officials, in reality, signify nothing to the experience of the average person, and we’ve seen that time and time again. 

What we can do, instead of listening to displays of faux concern and emotion over the state of current affairs, is pay attention. It’s by virtue of not paying attention that we let those with status and power take advantage of this issue and influence our lives by dictating its arbitrary concessions and prohibitions in the first place.

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