Pandemic Fatigue or Shifting Goalposts?
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
At the start of this year, I posted that we would need to get ready for a year of Hypocrisy (Read More). I personally had a concern that with what this year was to entail was that people as a whole would lay back and just accept it. Well, it seems that people are now either starting to fight back or at least they are going . . .
In my home country and state, it was clearly visible at the Australian Open after the Men's Final. The Chairman of Tennis Australia, Jayne Hrdlicka, a former boss of mine and us staff used to go, "that's your maiden name?" You would definitely have to have a thick skin growing up with a name like that. However, her speech was met with a mixture of cheering and boos, but the boos were overwhelming the predominant force.
Now booing is something Aussies love to do. Unfortunately, if you believe the AFL it's a racist act following the booing of Adam Goodes. Well, Adam, as a Melbourne supporter we booed you, not for the colour of your skin, but simply because you got off for this dog act on one of our players.
Footy supporters have long memories and this is why we booed you at Melbourne. I always used to joke with fellow supporters on how the Collingwood fans would boo Jack Watts, including when he went over to Port Adelaide in the last years of his career. Considering a recent report on Collingwood found systematic racism in the Club, then the booing must've been because you couldn't get any whiter than Jack Watts. But I digress, booing is often overread and psychoanalysed and often in the wrong sense. Nevertheless here is my two cents on it and how I think it's about a trend we are now seeing in this COVID world.
Following Hrdlicka's speech, the narrative being pushed right now is that those that booed were anti-vaxers and spoilsports who should be grateful they could attend the tennis at all. Well, I'm going to say this. There probably were boos from anti-vaxers in the crowd. However, when you thanked the Victorian Government the boos were definitely louder and more universal. Simply, this was a badly worded part of your speech. Seriously, what did you think was going to happen?
Within the last week, a snap lockdown was instigated on the Victorian public for less than 20 COVID cases. Cases that were later proven to be only in certain suburbs and in small pockets. Yet a snap decision was made and Victorian's were locked in their houses for 23 hours a day once again. That's right, once again! Until present-day London, in 2020 Victoria (Melbourne especially) had the longest and strictest lockdown outside of Wuhan. The economy is now in tatters, decisions appear to be made 'off the cuff' and secretively. There is no accountability. The second lockdown was because of a leak in Hotel Quarantine. A report allegedly figured out what went wrong and to ensure this never happened again. So all the recommendations were enacted. Lessons were apparently learnt. In the same week of the third lockdown Daniel Andrews even touted that the new Quarantine system was:
"The AMA over in WA is calling it the ‘gold standard’, that’s not terms I use, that’s what they said. If it was anything other than a good system then I doubt very much other first ministers across the country would have agreed to copy it.
Also that . . .
"We have less capacity because we have a different model and I believe higher standards.
Yet the Hotel Quarantine had failed again and COVID was back in the community with another mass lockdown required. I saw one tweet ages ago that said "whenever I see Dan Andrews walking to a microphone now, my eyes glaze over like a Vietnam Veteran when they hear a helicopter." This is also a government that is keeping families apart and turning it's back on its own citizens by refusing to let them come home, even if they are already in Australia. Yet they rolled out the red carpet and figured out how they could get this tournament to go ahead? Not one person at that tennis game probably was feeling ungrateful at the sense of normalcy they had to attend their Summer of Tennis but when you thank the Victorian Government as you did then, what did you expect was going to happen?
End of the day it was a poorly worded speech. What you should've said was "Victoria you have done it tough, and it was an honour to host this event and let you attend. Whatever your feelings, the assistance from the Victorian Government was vital, but if it weren't for you and your string of sacrifices then we wouldn't be standing here today". You might still have been booed for even mentioning the Victorian Government, but there would've been more applause than boos. Instead, you kept to the standard script you would do in a non-pandemic world and got burned.
As for the vaccine and the apparent booing of it. Well, I think this was more a combination of the fact people don't want things politicised in sports and people aren't happy that there are very likely policies soon to be enacted by both Government and Private Sectors that will make it near impossible to get by, unless, you've had this jab. Even pro-vaxers have concerns about this vaccine and aren't happy at being labelled an anti-vaxer simply because they have concerns. People are concerned about what the future holds with this jab and end up getting labelled as someone they aren't. Simply Jayne, to talk it up like you did was going to get a response.
Since then I have seen similar behaviours here in America, quite possibly the same is happening around many places around the world, and I don't think it's down to pandemic fatigue. Here are some things that are probably contributing factors to the loss of the narrative.
Lately, I have seen fewer people wearing their mask or at least using a degree of common sense with them. By common sense I mean, its more that people want to breath fresh air and if they are by themselves, especially outside, then why should they be masked up? I am seeing this frequently now in the United States, however, when they start approaching other people that's when they mask up. Let's not forget the argument about masking up is that it's to help prevent the spread to others when you can't socially distance. Then we got told that everyone has to wear a mask, even if they were inside their own car with no one around? Remember at the start of the pandemic that it was "don't wear masks, we need them for medical personal and first responders only" and "masks will only give a false sense of security" to now "it's wise to wear two or more masks". This is the death nail on the mask argument with many free thinkers who were prepared to go along with mask-wearing. Many I think have now gone, you have no idea anymore and are making this up as you go along. The double/triple masking premise is when I think people have gone, is this a joke?
I was a Flying Instructor for over a decade and when we'd do the lesson Practised Forced Landings which is when you simulate losing an engine in a single-engine plane and it's now a glider meaning you'd have to choose an open space to land in. The number of times I'd see a student who misjudged the procedure and would choose another open space to only get told by myself in the debrief . . .
"If you're lining up for a goal and you kick the ball and it comes off the side of the boot, can you move the goalposts to accommodate your missed kick?"
The same thing appears to be happening with this pandemic. Initially, we were told two weeks of lockdown to "flatten the curve". The idea being nothing more than giving health systems the ability to prepare. Yet two weeks became months with constant snap lockdowns happening. Eventually, it became "we must lockdown until a vaccine". The vaccine was now being touted as the "way out". No more masks, no more lockdowns, no more closed borders, no more quarantine. To only be told that this will not be the case. Vaccines now won't prevent the end of mask-wearing, it won't stop the inability to cross international borders and travel freely again. The narrative is now on shaky ground with this constant moving of the goalposts. Further adding to the people on a whole being disgruntled at Governmental agencies and wanting their freedoms back.
Many events are getting cancelled. In Australia, it was Australia Day celebrations, but it was perfectly ok to host a protest? A concert or a sporting event is permitted to go ahead but ANZAC Day marches aren't? ANZAC Day marches are in fact getting cancelled more than two months out. Police arrested a journalist covering a Medical Freedoms protest, police also pepper-sprayed protesters and made further arrests. Yet on the same day in another part of the city a "Save the Refugees" protest had none of the same treatment when both protests were peaceful. People are starting to question, why is it ok for some and not for us. This is dangerous territory and it's only going to get worse as more and more people begin to go . . .
It's the same in America, businesses are shutting down and/or going under. Citizens are on struggle street more than ever now. Hollywood workers are now seen as essential and are getting back to work. Yet a hospitality worker barely making ends meet is left to basically rot. Political leaders are frequently seen flaunting the rules in relation to COVID at the same time preaching that the rules must be followed. We are now seeing Californians are wanting to recall their Governor. In New York, Andrew Cuomo is now no longer considered the hero and excellent handler of COVID many were believing he was. These double standards and truth of government failures are only going to continue to destroy the narrative and continue to divide us and result in the so-called "silent majority" rising up to say no more.
I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.
The words of Admiral Yamamoto are quite true now when it comes to the state of affairs of the world. I don't think it's pandemic fatigue right now, it's simply people are beginning to ask questions and wanting some logic behind decisions that are making their lives more difficult each day. They aren't happy when they get slapped down or labelled something they aren't for simply asking a question or sharing an opinion. The narrative from Governmental Agencies and so-called experts is very quickly getting lost as it changes day by day, month by month. People are now standing up and asking these questions, hopefully, we can continue to do it together with cool heads and sanity eventually prevails. But the longer this goes on, the loss of civil liberties and people not being permitted to make their own choices then the more the fuse of a powder keg is being lit.