Everything in life has momentum. The same is true of the nation’s Covid restrictions. As Americans adjust to the downshifting of mask and vaccine requirements, some people are handling it better than others. An unfortunate employee at a Costco found this out the hard way.
The man in the mask threatens the store employee and his manager because they are not holding on to the narrative that has been relentlessly pushed by the media for the last two years. Covid is real, no doubt, but the mortality rate of the disease is way down.
One of the reasons is that the virus continues to mutate into less virulent and lethal forms. Getting Covid now is much less dangerous than it was at the beginning of the pandemic. The treatment methods have also improved. There is not as much guessing as there was when the medical field had no information. These two facts have almost no impact on the people like the masked man in Costco because fear and emotion are not tempered by data.
It will take time to get people to feel safe to walk around as they did before the pandemic. It is not as simple as just declaring everything can go back to normal. It does not help matters that the people in charge continue to have mixed messages. One day Dr. Fauci declares that the pandemic is over and then reverses himself the next day. There is no certainty coming from the authorities, only a continual moving of the goal posts.
Another reason that people are having a tough time coping with the change in restrictions is the amount of uncertainty present in the rest of the world. Russia’s war in Ukraine is changing the entire world order, from toppling the dominance of the Petrodollar to the inherent uncertainty in a proxy war being waged by the western powers against a nuclear-armed peer. On the home front, energy and food inflation are having an impact across the board.
These multiple vectors of stress push people to have overreactions like the masked man in the Costco. It is likely that two years ago he was a well-adjusted normal person. Now he is just another example of a stressed-out citizen that is on the edge. Hopefully as time goes on, incidents like these will be the exception rather than the rule.