Fundamentally irrational American reaction to COVID-19


COVID. Illustrated | iStock

Imagine a country facing a pandemic.

In this unbelievable country, it quickly becomes clear that some people become seriously ill, some die of the virus, and others develop a “long” version of the disease that lasts for months. However, others experience only symptoms like a common cold or mild flu and recover quickly. Over time, researchers will develop a simple blood test to determine which people belong to which group. Soon, almost everyone knows the risk of a serious illness, but those who are likely to get a serious illness refuse to take basic precautions to prevent infection, People at much lower risk insist on rules requiring face masks in public and regulate their daily lives in a myriad of other ways to further protect themselves.

You will probably conclude that the behavior of the population of this fictional country is fundamentally unreasonable, and you will be right. That’s a shame. Slightly Fact adjustment, this country is us. But instead of a miraculous test to determine who is prone to severe or mild illness, we have vaccines that classify people into either category. Vaccinated people are overwhelmingly protected from dangerous symptoms when infected with COVID-19, but unvaccinated people do not.Still recent Morning Consult vote Quoted by New York Times‘David Leonhard show Unvaccinated people are much less likely to catch the virus than vaccinated people.

Now as Matthew Iglesias It pointed out The tweet reverses causality and assumes that polls show that “people who are most worried about COVID are vaccinated and boosted,” but those who are less worried are not. Then there is a way to force this combination of opinions into a kind of consistency. But in that case, polls highlight a slightly different mode of irrationality for those who have been vaccinated to protect themselves from the virus, but who show through their actions that they really do not believe the vaccine will work. I’m just there. On the other hand, the irrationality of unvaccinated is based on a more extreme version of the same allegations. In addition to doubting the effectiveness of the vaccine, they also believe that it is more dangerous to get an injection than to fight the virus without vaccination.

What is the future of a country full of epidemiological irrationality? It all depends on the future course of the virus. If the widespread arrival of the (less serious) Omicron mutant in combination with vaccine immunity interferes with the spread of the next mutant, the country can probably return to normal.

However, if the next variant evades some of this immunity, the United States may continue on its current unfortunate path. The highest-risk people pursue the highest-risk behavior, and the lowest-risk people adhere to public health regulations that prevent them from returning home. Normally. At that time, you don’t need an imaginary scenario to see our stupidity.

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