COVID-19 Day 87: Life is back to normal. Be careful what you wish for.

Today marks the 87th day since President Trump announced the National Emergency back on March 13th. Since then I’ve marked every day in hopes of recording the process of recovering from the most pervasive pandemic to affect the entire planet in over a century. Today I will stop marking the days since there is no longer any point. The pandemic that united a country for over 2 months in shared fear, has seemingly been miraculously vanished by our shared outrage and division.

The nation’s businesses were shut down and over 3 million American’s were out of work. Through the course of April, COVID-19 cases and deaths rose alarmingly with record-breaking levels a daily occurrence, especially in New York which became the epicenter of the pandemic and a cautionary tale of ‘what NOT to do’. A weekly series of gaffs at the White House and a dramatic about-face from the CDC on mask-wearing. 

By May, new cases and deaths had peaked nationally and states which had not experienced alarming outbreaks (and some that had), began planning to reopen their economies to more Swedish-like health policies. In states that continued to restrict their population, protests began with cries to reopen businesses from desperate workers and small business owners. People began to notice a hypocrisy in ‘public safety measures’ and non-sensical restrictions on outdoor recreation as the weather turned mild. 

During May, two shocking deaths of black men became video videos. Ahmaud Arbery was shot in February while threatened by two white men who suspected him a burglar. At the end of May, George Floyd was killed during a police arrest, after the arresting cop pressed a knee on his neck for 8 minutes. Both deaths provoked outrage but protests for Ahmaud were suppressed by the COVID lockdown but by the end of May, protesters felt safe enough to take to the streets. 

Protest demonstrations in Minneapolis turned destructive, instigated by white ANTIFA-like agitators. Images of violence from both rioters and riot police were quickly shared on social media and tacitly encouraged by politicians. These in turn inspired duplicate riots nationwide. And then world-wide.

Now, news reports and social media coverage about COVID-19 are gone, replaced by protest and political news. Despite the universal rejection of police brutality and senseless looting and arson, we have both to thank for a sea change in the country. COVID-19 laws banning large social gatherings have been hypocritically ignored or blatantly modified to include exceptions for political protests. So any further government-mandated closures of business, school, or activities no longer have any legitimacy in the eyes of the public.

Rational safety measures like physical distancing, hand-washing, disinfecting, and mask-wearing should continue to be exercised until better solutions are developed. But all these coronavirus health measures are now, fully in the hands of our personal responsibility and social acceptance, and not proscribed by our political ‘authorities’.

Whether organic protest or influenced by state-sponsored psy-ops media bots intent on national destabilization, at this point is moot. The damage is done, the gates are open and there’s no going back. 2020 which started with a focus on political impeachment, then about a world-wide health crisis, is now focused on racial injustice and long-standing grievances. 

When COVID-19 began, many politicians said we could never go back to life-as-usual until a cure or vaccine was found. They were wrong. We’re back as life-as-usual because it’s politics-as-usual, and we’ve forgotten how much that sucks.

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