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In the Covid Times

“I never wanted it, I didn’t need it. I just gave in, it’s my biggest regret,” the words of an Australian man in his mid-thirties who spent most of the ‘Covid years” active on social media challenging the narrative. Referring to the vaccination as the “clot shot”, he knew other men who had suffered injury from the vaccinations. Despite his hesitancy and lack of fear for the Covid19 virus itself, he succumbed. That is how many Australians were motivated to roll up their sleeves. With a rabid media campaign, a government that bullied and restricted life and a community of familiars and strangers who ridiculed and abused those who had questions, that is how Australia took the needles.

Though gendarmes did not chase down the unvaccinated and camps were not their fate, the social pressure expressed against the non-compliant was widespread. A collective irrationality had developed, whereby anyone wary or even those with underlying medical conditions were all slumped into the caricature of being a loony ‘conspiracy theorists.” There were loonies and always will be conspiracy theories, though many of those who did not comply picked their health over an unconvincing, ever changing government narrative. It took courage and stubborn resolve to reject the mandates and ‘covid bullies’. Yet, the bullies marched on. Nuance and conversation was lost, it was not allowed, “science” had become absolute, a dogmatic slogan to be used by selected experts and their cheerleaders. Suddenly the liberal values of choice and medical ethics of informed consent were dissolved, it was a “crisis”, a “pandemic”, what little freedom remained be damned!

People did die of Covid19, directly and with it. Many were at risk. The vaccinations became a silver bullet that satisfied government, the professionals paid to push and inject and the corporations manufacturing them. It was a symbiosis of profits and virtue signalling beneath the guise of benevolence, fuelled by a public health crisis. Australians, those descendants of convicts and free men, for the most part complied. Government and it’s many selected experts put on a convincing facade, even when ‘facts’ contradicted often. Since then many have forgotten such as when in Victoria the most vulnerable were locked inside of public housing towers for weeks because a person tested positive for the virus, cops enforcing the blockade against families. And if reminded, they shrug.

It was a crisis where unmasked police would approach strangers, standing a foot away to write a fine for breaking the arbitrarily determined social distancing laws of 1.5 metres or about six feet. To a quarantine policy for those who had returned from abroad, that changed frequently, but money or social importance could ensure safe passage despite apparent health concerns. At one point in South Australia a traveller had to spend a week in a hotel followed by another week in a house, where police officers would come check on them. In one instance when I hosted such a traveller, on two occasions police men stood in close proximity and chatted with the guest, both unmasked. The facade was a ritual of law that gave officials the premise of being seen to do something while those who implement laws and policies did so with professional apathy, not concerned by the potential risk of infection other than any inconveniences it may provide, then again paid home leave is nice for some.

Though numerous leaks of the political elites defying their own laws slipped out across the world, whether visiting beauty saloons, attending parties or being seen in public without the approved costume or disobeying certain protocols such as the above mentioned social distancing. Wives reported husbands to the police for walking a dog late at night and neighbours became informants. Some were deemed ‘essential’ while others told that they had become inferior citizens. Contradictions don’t matter when you are governed by liars. Meanwhile politicians and otherwise boring public health officials conducted regular press conferences, prattling on about cases before an adoring media, always reminding the importance of obeying. A cult of celebrity wafted through the air like a miasma as overstretched medical professionals choreographed dances for Tik-Tok.

Sex workers remained busy with cops, health officials and political apparatchiks who continued to satisfy their appetites while the citizenry remained locked up alone or with the family. Alcohol and fast food outlets thrived, so too did local drug dealers, zoom and computer gaming helped to drive the demand for devices, vital components becoming in short supply. Speculators horded toilet paper, baby formula, masks and anything else that social media memes informed them to flock over. Online dating apps thrived as lonely people swiped for conversation and solidarity the world over, vaccine status becoming a feature to boast. Sports players fell dead on the fields in seemingly higher numbers than normal and those who refused to take the medication, for fear of falling dead like their peers, became pariah. Spectators on social media distant experts while they gorged themselves on main stream media and memes that were as unreliable as the other, but the screens remained in faces.

In Australia the citizenry were expected to scan a QR code or fill out a form each and every time they went into a location, some businesses and even government departments were fined for not enforcing the process. Individuals were punished for not scanning themselves in, though numerous reports of police, ambulance officers and government agents themselves not obeying the process was met with helpless indignation. The data collected from such scans was supposed to be lost after an invented period of time, though it turned out, it was also being used by the police. Those who wanted to remain informed on outbreaks of cases soon realised that privately run Facebook pages were far more effective than the governments own QR code fed notification service. To the point that the scanning was dropped not because of any civil liberty concerns rather that they just were incompetent and had done little to stop any spread.

Lines of cars circled blocks at the various “Covid testing stations”, people needed a negative read to work or travel. The at home tests were not accurate, or unavailable or illegal. Then they became the opposite, expedience demanded it. People needed the negative so that they could work. Those who did not work, were paid more not to.

When eating at a restaurant was allowed, some tables were kept empty while others occupied, masks had to be worn while standing and walking, though could be removed while sitting. In some places while seated in the bathroom, mask-less, but standing at a urinal, mask on. In food courts at malls, eating was not allowed at tables but one could walk and eat, mask down. Businesses had to pay to train employees to become Covid marshals so that they could wear a vest or badge and ensure the ever fluid rules were obeyed. Businesses were forced to display a sign informing the public just how many individuals were allowed inside, based on the venues area. Some places would never come close to having that many people inside, while others had lines of strangers standing in the rain, wind or heat waiting to be allowed in so that the government approved ‘science; could be obeyed. For a time the world hated a pizzeria because an employee tested positive for Covid19, now those with who test positive can roam the streets and eat as many pizzas as they wish, mask free.

Across the world the armed agents of government shot and beat those defying the lock downs, people searching for drinking water to keep their families alive, the desperately hungry all were confined to suffer while their rulers hid in fortresses full of supplies. The experiences in the privileged nation during lockdowns is at times remembered fondly, for those in shared accommodation where one works night shift and the other day, hot bedding, it was horrible. Families crammed together with little water and food suffered. In the lands beyond Ubereats starvation occurred, while Aussies on paid leave complained about getting ‘Covid fat’. When the proletariat and peasants protested, they were beaten and ridiculed. Social media posts monitored, with cops turning up to the homes of those who wrote an online post, even pregnant mothers were bullied. The politically accepted protests, were allowed, for a time it seemed Covid laws went away, while the world marched against ‘systemic racism’. But Covid laws returned, so too did the murder by cops of all races.

The controversial nature of vaccine related injuries continues to this day, the determined efforts of professionals and members of the public to push for the silver bullets remains. It soon became more common to know of someone who had an adverse reaction to the vaccine, extremes varied, rather than someone who was dead from the virus. The steady trickling of anecdotes and examples, especially those younger, who suffered from the at times mandated or at least shamed into getting it medicine increased. For anyone involved in sports and fitness, it was common to see otherwise healthy young people suddenly take a turn for the worse once they had received the vaccination. Though as it remains a controversial and sensitive topic it is one that exists in the shadows of discourse, hidden from official acknowledgement or statistics and perhaps even care that individuals have suffered.

It has become a meme that, “No one regrets not getting it,” in regards to the vaccine. Though many pro-vaccination advocates like to trample over the corpses of those unvaccinated who died from Covid-19, just as those who died from what MAY be caused by the vaccine are also celebrated by the anti crowd. It’s a miserable cycle that is an indictment of the binary nature of human thinking that politics has created. A terrible simplification and unimpressive way to look at the world. And yet, here we are. In a period when those who are sceptical of public health mandates or were reluctant to receive the vaccination have been clumped into a camp of conspiracy theorists and even called, “Trump supporters”, which is baffling since he was an early champion for the silver bullet. While those who may have trusted health officials are considered stooges for ‘big pharma’ or even some super-government cabal bent on purging humanity of its numbers. Nuance is ignored, everything is boiled down to a vulgar simplification.

Health was the great victim during the Covid years, outside of those who did get sick, it was a disregard to the importance of being healthy and improving our minds and bodies so that we can thrive and survive. Instead policy and bullying pressed home a need to become dependent on public health and pharmaceutical manufacturers-suppliers, even as we witnessed healthy individuals thrive despite infection, it was only the official narrative that remained acceptable. Even if the narrative defied what was considered legitimate before 2020. Suddenly alternatives and scientific enquiry was prohibited and had become homogenised into one methodology, not the best for millions of individuals but that which benefited the status quo, experts, professionals and central planners.

Some wishing to keep their jobs attempted to bribe the nurse holding the needle, a few doctors wrote fake vaccination passes and many lied outright all so that they could navigate financial ruination while honouring their instincts to preserve their health. Even as it was admitted that the silver bullet was less effective, mandates continued for some. In the public sector many could be defiant with a parachute of paid leave, while those in the private industrty could not. Businesses in the places where the lockdowns were lengthy and harsh, barely recovered or died. The pious blowhards cheered and proclaimed that ‘health is more important than profits’, as they were paid to stay home and many did in fact profit immensely at the expense of not only human health but the economy. It was no wider conspiracy other than that which allows the worse in humanity to pursue a mercenary self interest to profit from misery and crisis. Government allows for this, and during Covid we saw it at its worse.

We live in a world of graphs and statistics, information collected and endorsed by human beings, but life is made up of experiences and anecdotes. When history reflects on the period known as “Covid” it will be with statistics that human misery and futility is smudged out, the lived experience to be lost in the memories of those who witnessed, implemented and endured. It is often said that history does not repeat, only rhymes and tragically it will do so in the future if the wisdom of now and yesterday are lost. People ensured the crisis was what it became, they profited from it, harmed because of it and praised themselves despite any failures and flaws. No virus is as deadly or as destructive as human arrogance, a biased hubris that will only ever grow and spread like a contagion and the vaccine for that, is information and liberty itself.

August 2023

Published inAll Articles and EssaysMiscellaneousPhilosophy, Society and Liberty