One thing you may have noticed since the pandemic began is that busybodies have never had it so good.
There are a wealth of opportunities for your neighbor to butt his nose into your business and tell you how to live. And if you question their motives for screaming at you to wear a mask or get vaccinated, all they have to do is point to government websites for proof of how right they are.
It’s human nature for others to give us the benefit of their wisdom and tell us how best to survive the coronavirus pandemic. It’s also human nature to derive enormous satisfaction from ordering other people around.
Don’t you wish they’d just shut up and mind their own business?
“It’s like the sun has come up in the morning and everyone is arguing about it,” Jim Taylor from Baton Rouge told the New York Times.
“The virus is here and it’s killing people, and we have a time-tested way to stop it — and we won’t do it. It’s an outrage.”
If you’re vaccinated, the chances of “breakthrough” infection are infinitesimally small. You may as well get outraged by the prospect of being struck by an asteroid.
“I’ve become angrier as time has gone on,” Doug Robertson, 39, a teacher who lives outside Portland, Oregon, told the Times.
“Now there is a vaccine and a light at the end of the tunnel, and some people are choosing not to walk toward it,” he said. “You are making it darker for my family and others like mine by making that choice.”
Other people’s personal choices are not interfering with anyone’s health and safety. If you are worried for your children — many parents see the exact same advice and aren’t — you can have them wear masks or stay home. That would be your choice. Until the CDC gives the go-ahead to vaccinate those under 12, you are stuck getting angry at other people for no reason.
And the vaccine for those above 2 years old will probably be approved in the next few weeks. Then, the only people who will be outraged will be those with infants and toddlers.
There are aspects to personal freedom that busybodies hate — specifically, freedom of choice.
There is little doubt that the United States has reached an inflection point. According to a database maintained by The New York Times, 57 percent of Americans ages 12 and older are fully vaccinated. Eligible Americans are receiving 537,000 doses per day on average, an 84 percent decrease from the peak of 3.38 million in early April.
As a result of lagging vaccination and lifted restrictions, infections are rising. As of Sunday, the country was seeing 52,000 new cases daily, on average, a 170 percent increase over the previous two weeks. Hospitalization and death rates are increasing, too, although not as quickly.
The peak number of daily positive tests was 330,000 in January. If you asked anyone in January if they would trade the 57,000 cases from today for the total in January, you would have had a lot of takers.
Everybody should get the vaccine. It’s free, it’s safe, and it may save your life. But this is not a reason to force people to get vaccinated. It can be suggested. It can be urged. But there are no circumstances that would justify the government threatening people with consequences for not getting jabbed.