Both scientific and medical debate continues to unfold in not only the dubious nature of what we currently identify as COVID-19, but also – and more intensely perhaps – over the ongoing global response to the virus itself. At the same time, however, this ever-important issue of COVID lockdowns is being glossed over daily by the more sensationalized stories of racial protests.
In many ways, the protests provide an illegitimate cover; an unfortunate distraction of sorts which diverts the public’s attention away from the shoddy and unsustainable COVID precautions which clearly deserve to be further examined. Additionally, as is the classical tactic of any divisive agenda, the racial climate that we now find ourselves in has successfully (and incredulously) served to create even further partition between individuals, communities, groups, and even the very same ethnic races that have labored to overcome the oppression that has plagued the West for so long. Ironically, we now find ourselves regressing to knee-jerk policies that actually promotesegregation rather than protect against it.
Consequently, this new division in our society has delayed our collective resolve to soberly examine the destructive response to SARS-COV-2. According to a Pew Research Center poll from June 29th, there is a general trend of decreasing intensity when it comes to the public consumption of news around COVID-19. The Pew study specifically mentioned that
“the June survey, which took place as demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd were dominating headlines, shows a decrease in those paying very close attention to the COVID-19 outbreak. The 39% of U.S. adults reporting this highest level of engagement is down from 46% in late April and 57% in late March, when the outbreak was first forcing shutdowns around the country” (Pew Research Center, June 29). Similarly, an Ipsos Reid poll from June 18th concludes that “a majority of people in nine out of 16 major countries say there are much bigger issues to worry about than the coronavirus with all protests going on in the United States and elsewhere” (Ipsos Reid, June 18).
I would agree that this diversion has also served to not only redirect the public focus, but by its very insistence as an urgent ‘social’ issue has also served to entrench the public’s original perceptions and beliefs around COVID-19 without any further critical thinking.
In other words, by having to quickly readjust our concerns to the newly-created theatrics of racial demonstrations, we no longer have the time or sense of import to properly examine how the official responses to coronavirus are continuing – and will continue – to affect our civilization and our culture as a people. By default then, whatever we believed about COVID-19 before the racial unrest will simply remain our default perception, simply because we are now being encouraged to look in other directions. As such, the unspoken trend around the coronavirus at this point is that it no longer needs as much critical addressing and that we now simply need to acclimate to the “new normal.” In the meantime, it is worth taking a fresh look at where public opinion now rests in regards to the lockdown culture.
As far as perspectives around the COVID-19 lockdown responses are concerned, I see two variations of people that make up the general bulk of the public body.
The most visible segment are those who are clearly on board with the standardized precautions that were put in place; things like social distancing, mask-wearing, hand sanitizing, business closures and sheltering-in-place.
It would also seem evident that this group is considerably the larger of the two, given the findings of a Pew Research poll from back in April 16th. As the poll demonstrated,
“66% of Americans say they are more concerned that these (COVID) restrictions will be lifted too quickly, while 32% say they are more concerned they won’t be lifted quickly enough” (Pew Research Center, April 16).
Within this first group of people there exists a spectrum of belief as to how much precaution is actually necessary. Accordingly, some will rigidly adhere to whatever source of personal protection is available to them in order to avoid getting the virus, while others will appear to casually meander in and out of protective motions almost at random – donning masks when the moment “seems right” or else socially distancing from complete strangers, yet not for people that are more familiar to them. In some ways, a double-standard of protective behavior can be seen in this end of the precautionary spectrum even though, to some degree, they ultimately do believe in the risk of transmission and likewise believe that it should be avoided.