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After Covid…

by Taylor

27th February, 2021

Last weekend I woke up, and thought, I’d really love to splurge on calories, and go to the Pancake Cafe, a favorite of mine. “Fuck it, I’m sick of Covid” crossed my mind multiple times.

And I am. I’m sick of Covid. This has been going on for almost a year. This time last year, I was sitting in a bar in Taiwan watching as news of a strange virus were being reported in a Chinese province I had never heard of. Wuhan has been forever stamped into the thoughts of everyone ever since. My trip through Asia stands in my memory as both the first few weeks of 2020, and the last few of a “carefree” existence.

Hearing about the deaths is sad. I don’t enjoy it. It’s true I’ve known very few people who have contracted Covid, and no one I personally know has died. But as the year progressed, the rising death count seemed to encroach upon me, seemingly less distant every day. My dad’s step-brother died of Covid. He was the same age as my dad, 63.

I detest that Covid precautions have become politicized. The approach has divided along political lines, a reality I blame towards the party elites, who have engendered anger amongst the populace in attempts to jockey for public favor.

Republicans, positioning themselves as the “party of freedoms” chooses to undermine public health officials in attempts to promote personal choice and freedom. Democrats “the ‘anti-capitalism’ party that cares for all people”, allies itself with extreme restrictions “barring no economic expense” in the face of public health.

Obviously there is a middle ground that nearly all Americans subscribe to. Wearing a mask wouldn’t have been contentious if the political duopoly didn’t make it so.

And yet, politicians on both sides of the aisle fail to practice what they preach:

Host virtual gathering instead of in-person dinners.

Michael Hancock, Denver Mayor, the day before Thanksgiving

Half an hour later, Hancock boarded a plane to Mississippi to see his family.

We need to stay home if you can. This is not the time to relax… We may have to close things down if we are not careful.

Steve Adler, Austin Mayor

Broadcast over Facebook, while vacationing in Mexico.

Jim Kenney, Philadelphia Mayor, ate at a Maryland restaurant owned by a friend, at the same time when indoor restaurants were shut in his own city.

The list goes on and on, and spans both parties; Gavin Newsom, London Breed, Nancy Pelosi. Many of these politicians have been caught repeatedly violating their own restrictions.

What bothers me about this, is less the risk to the politician’s, or the public’s health, but more the blatant hypocrisy of it all.

The fact that these politicians (Trump and his administrators included) are willing to risk their own health for these minor social activities, means clearly they feel their restrictions are overcautious. If they felt the restrictions too lax, they may choose to stay in, and allow others to socialize at their own peril.

Instead they promote policy they clearly don’t believe in, but pursue nonetheless for reasons I can only but speculate. Hint: Political jockeying at behest of party leaders is a top one.

Moving past my assessment of the current state of affairs, I am brought back to the present: with a new calendar year, multiple released trusted vaccines being rolled out, and spring around the corner, what does the rest of this year look like?

When will we arrive at an “after Covid”? What will we be able to do? I expressed my desire for Covid to end today, a first since the pandemic started.

My roommate asked, what would you do that you can’t do now? That got me thinking…

I want to see my friends.

  • I want to go to Sh*tty Barn.
  • I want to run the Madison Marathon.
  • To play Essen Haus volleyball.
  • To enjoy a Terrace beer and watch Mendota Sunsets, to sit out at Picnic Point.
  • To hike and grill out at Devils Lake
  • To partake in Square festivities, farmers market, King street concerts, and Wednesday orchestral sessions.
  • To float down Sugar River.

So yeah, I think there’s plenty out there to do. I want to do them.

I miss those things. And I miss the people I did them with. I don’t want any of them to die due to virus infection, but I want to see them. I hope that with the vaccine rollout, that we are nearing the end of this lockdown.

But should the virus evolve, we should seriously question our policy approach. At what point do we approach this like the flu, recommend elderly folks protect themselves, develop seasonal vaccines and let society go on.

I’d like to see a referendum, and let the people determine to what extent we are willing to expose ourselves to risk in exchange for what rewards. At least in the privacy of a public voting booth, our local politicians can confess to how they really feel.

by Taylor