Where I disagree with almost everyone here is how severe COVID is. You see, I know about the Red Queen hypothesis. While the virus is not intelligent, it will seek the best way to propagate and pass along genetic material. Just like viruses before it, one of the most effective methods is to stop killing viable hosts. There's a fair amount of our genetic code that is the echoed shadows of viruses our ancestors endured and survived. I don't think COVID was ever as dangerous as we were told. I think with the omicron variant it's become less so. I think it's well on it's way to becoming a periodic thing like colds and flu.
I don't think the masks or social distancing were ever effective.
We're not dealing with absolutes here. I said "one of the most effective" and I meant that. It's certainly not every pathogen, but it tends to be most.
As far as the vaccines, the word is still out on that. By a strict definition, they aren't exactly the vaccines we've had in the past. mRNA is an experimental process, and as such violates the Nuremberg Code. There are also emerging studies that say there are permanent effects on the immune system. Some have suggested that being vaccinated makes you more susceptible to later variants of COVID and other diseases. The mRNA cures may be worse than the disease.
It would help a lot if we were given information instead of a stream of propaganda. Just as one example, the YouTube app on my AppleTV has this "COVID news" row I can't turn off, and the vids alternate between fluff pieces and admonitions that The Vaccines Are Good For You and Government Is On Your Side.
At this point, it seems that the COVID virus is adopting infectiousness over lethality. The data is still out on that because the tests aren't accurate. As the CDC admitted a few days ago.
The arguments aren't loon ranting when government mandates are part of the Official Solution. Informed consent is supposed to be a basis of our society no matter what the circumstances.
The times that societies have violated informed medical consent have not been pretty. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study is one of the most notorious American examples, but there have been others (Henrietta Lacks, Saenger's radiation trials, the Willowbrook State School, etc., etc.).
The vaccines went through "emergency" trials, there's evidence that "corners were cut" to meet deadlines, and there is growing evidence of serious side effects. We know for example that healthy males including athletes have died from cardiac reactions to the vaccines.
But for me the central issue is consent. Even during the height of AIDS, that treatment was not mandated. Nor did we start screening people to see if they had been treated.
Compulsory schooling laws plus mandated vaccines Does Not Equal informed medical consent.
I don't have a problem with vaccines.
I do have a problem with government mandates. When it comes to medicine, government often doesn't tell the truth. Or even that it is doing anything. I do not trust in the wisdom of government, especially when it faces no consequences for doing wrong. Even more so when it's for The Greater Good.
Among other things, because the expert's advice was situational. And the way that the politicos applied it was even more so.
Churches were a no-no, but street protests were OK. Can't go to that aisle of the big box store, but two aisles over is fine. That small mom & pop business is closed, but this national chain one is open.
One mask, two mask, three mask more. Young school kids won't get sick, but we need to have them masked anyway.
Oh, and let's not forget the masks that have logos. And no one was saying if the masks should be laundered or how often. Or talking about what happens when you breathe through a fiber mask for hours at a time.
Noses stuck out over masks, but that was sometimes OK. Family gatherings were bad, but political fundraisers with masked waitstaff were acceptable.
My favorite were the supermarket checkout lines that were marked in six foot increments but were less than four feet from the lines on either side. I saw videos of the Disney parks doing similar things, although some of those did have plexiglass separators.
To me, the Important People Demanding Masks illustrated hypocrisy. They were doing it for show when it was convenient, so the “peons” would comply, not because they thought the masks worked.