The Post-Pandemic World

AP Photo/Florian Schroetter

Together with guarded hopes that the decline of the omicron COVID-19 wave marks the beginning of the end of the pandemic comes the question: what happens when it has finally run its course? What will the post-pandemic world be like? The most likely scenario is that it will unleash the greatest political jailbreak since the end of the second world war. Only a few months after Hitler’s armies surrendered, the British electorate, eager to put the restrictions of war behind them, handed Winston Churchill a landslide defeat and replaced him with Clement Atlee. Once victory removed the rationale for all the regulations they had willingly accepted, they set about removing them. With the end of the current pandemic, the justification for lockdowns, masks, mandates, tracking, and restrictions on the public will similarly vanish and the desire for a new world will be unleashed.

This may expose the bureaucrats who’ve spent the last three years building ’empires of fear’ to a widespread political backlash. What will make it worse is that the bureaucrats cannot even claim victory over the virus for their policies. It just seemed to have run its course, with omicron representing the final stage of the viral evolution to an endemic disease.

A tailing off of COVID-19 cases in parts of the U.S. has raised hopes that the Omicron variant has peaked, as calls grow in Europe to switch the designation of the disease from pandemic to endemic. Top U.S. infectious-diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday the highly contagious variant that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says accounts for 95 percent of new COVID cases, “will find just about everybody.”

But with the U.S. reporting nearly 1 million new coronavirus infections a day, there is hope that things could soon turn a corner.

That is to say, the pandemic may soon be over or at least tolerable. While this development is good news, it will raise questions over whether many of the powers assumed in the name of scientific authority were inflated in retrospect. Its one undoubted legacy has been to damage the reputation of the ruling class. As Daniel Henninger writes in the WSJ, “Omicron has killed certitude. People no longer care what government or ‘science’ tells them about Covid-19.” The public has concluded that officials have overreached, and this has — at least temporarily — ruined their credibility.

the percentage who want the government to work on Covid-19 is 33%, a 20-point drop from a year ago.

Partisans whose job it is to stand in front of a microphone and explain Mr. Biden’s policies will say, “See, we’re winning. Our policies have removed Covid as a daily concern.”

Umm, no. Identified U.S. Omicron infections are arriving at hundreds of thousands a day. Sagas abound of burned-out hospital workers and depleted workforces. Holiday air travel was a historic nightmare. The promised supply of rapid antigen tests is today’s equivalent of the bridge to nowhere. Cloth masks worked, until they didn’t. School’s out—forever.

It was remarkable how often one saw people interviewed while standing in lines to be tested say: “I don’t understand how this can be happening after two years.” People are flying the pandemic white flag: They’ve stopped caring what the government, the politicians or “science” is telling them about Covid.

The Covid pandemic is altering many multiples of behavioral patterns, and one of the biggest, for which we should thank the virus, is the death of certitude.

It’s not that the concept of science per se has been discredited, but the limits of governance based on the state of the art have been laid bare. Already the signs of political disillusion are plain to see, from Joe Biden’s collapse in the polls, the SCOTUS rejection of his vaccine mandate, and Boris Johnson’s slipping hold on power to Novak Djokovic’s amazing one-man stand against Australia’s vaccine visa policy: a worldwide storm is brewing, and it will break over the political scene in 2022.

Related: It’s Joe Biden’s Pandemic Now

In the aftermath of the pandemic, hard questions will be asked about the origins of the virus, the integrity of the social media censors, the ‘snail speed’ at which the administration pursued anti-COVID therapies, and the future of all the controls promulgated in the name of necessity. And what people learn may not exactly please them. David Brooks, writing in the NYT, notices a sour mood abroad in the land and wonders why the public is so surly. “I couldn’t figure it out. Why would Americans be driving so much more recklessly during the pandemic?”

Not only is reckless driving on the rise, Yglesias pointed out, but the number of altercations on airplanes has exploded, the murder rate is surging in cities, drug overdoses are increasing, Americans are drinking more, nurses say patients are getting more abusive, and so on and so on. … Teachers are facing a rising tide of disruptive behavior. …

What the hell is going on? The short answer: I don’t know. I also don’t know what’s causing the high rates of depression, suicide and loneliness that dogged Americans even before the pandemic and that are the sad flip side of all the hostility and recklessness I’ve just described.

Maybe David Brooks doesn’t know the cause of the anger he senses, but we’re about to find out. The pandemic wound up the world like a huge spring and it threatens to snap back with as yet incalculable results. The next few years will be full of surprises, not more of the same.

Books: The Real Anthony Fauci: Bill Gates, Big Pharma, and the Global War on Democracy and Public Health by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The Real Anthony Fauci details how Fauci, Gates, and their cohorts use their control of media outlets, scientific journals, key government and quasi-governmental agencies, global intelligence agencies, and influential scientists and physicians to flood the public with fearful propaganda about COVID-19 virulence and pathogenesis, and to muzzle debate and ruthlessly censor dissent.

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