The “New Normal” Is The Old Abnormal, With A Twist

A year ago, having the police storming your place for spending time with your extended family, would have been unconceivable. Only extreme, totalitarian regimes would have resorted to something like this, and probably only in very targeted cases.

Now, this is the norm. Like, literally, if you spend time with more than 6 people from your extended family (or 9 people or whatever the limit is in your version of cosmetic lockdown), in your own house, not doing anything loud, or unhealthy, just enjoying each other presence, you’re committing a crime.

That’s the world we live in now.

What we’ve been told is the “new normal” is actually the old abnormal. But with a twist.

Do you want to know what it is?

Are you sure?

Ok, here we go.

The biggest trick governments pulled was to make regular people feel responsible for spreading a disease, while completely avoiding their own responsibility for not scaling the health system.

Less and less people think along these lines: “well, there’s some shitty virus going on, and it’s contagious, so the government, to which we pay a lot of money, via tax and fines, would better move their assess and scale the health system, so we can cope with that.”

And more and more people are turning against each other for simple things (like walking on the streets, spending times with loved ones or just having fun) because they live in constant fear. More and more people are actually asking for even more isolation, honestly believing that this is the only solution.

It’s not the only solution. There’s a public health system, to which everyone contributes. That system, as broken and as incomplete as it was a year ago, should have been upgraded, patched, improved so it could cope with exponential increases in patients. There was time to do this. It’s not like we’re witnessing a zero day vulnerability. It’s been already a year. 12 months. 53 weeks. 365 days.

And, if we’re really honest with ourselves after this year, we have no other option but to face this ugly truth, that social distancing is only partially working, and those “just two weeks, to flatten the curve” turned into an entire year, in which very, very little really happened in the health areas related to first response. I’m well aware that we have not one, but a few vaccines now, I’m talking about first response, which means the capacity to cope with a major influx of new patients. Because that’s what we’re told with any new restriction measure: “we want you to stay home, in order to decrease the pressure on the health system”.

It’s like the health system is rigid, set in stone, can’t be changed, and the ones who have to change their lives, for the greater good, are the people for which the system was initially built.

How weird.

Somehow, we’ve been pushed into this space in which ending the pandemic is only our collective responsibility, and those who assumed their leader roles, suddenly forgot about their own responsibilities and are just giving orders and implementing restrictions. I’m not saying it’s not our responsibility too, I’m saying it’s not the only responsibility here. And we can be responsible and sensible in many ways, not only by freezing our lives, every time the health system is overloaded. We don’t really have to be told with how many people we can meet, that’s freaking dystopian.

I’m well aware that I’m not a specialist in public health. I’m well aware that my opinion is not equal expertise. And I don’t claim that I’m right, far from me.

I’m just observing a growing gap between the things that can be made by governments, or by people who are in charge (like scaling the health system to cope with the third, or the fourth wave) and the increasingly restrictive measures (as the “only” available mean to stop the virus). I’m seeing an imbalance here, in which the restrictions “tool” is over-used, even abused, while scaling the health system is discretely pushed into the background.

It’s like, in an eery, surreal and apocalyptic scenario, instead of seeing systems being scaled up, we’re seeing humans being scaled down.

I tried my best to keep a balanced perspective and, if you do have information about the progress made in the first response areas, please share. I just want to understand.

Until then, though, until I will find at least an equal amount of evidence from the governments that they are actually improving the first response sector, re-allocating money from other areas, if need will be (instead of shutting down big chunks of social and economic activities, which they “support” with “relief packages”, meaning printing more money, which will spiral down into more and more debt), I will continue to believe that this is not ok.

This is not about the virus anymore. It’s about an outdated, ineffective – and, in quite a few places, a misleading, toxic and corrupt – government system.

This system looks like it may end soon. And noisy.

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