Omicron upends the class politics of COVID
Until omicron came along, the official response to COVID served as an instrument of class warfare against blue-collar workers and small businesses, on behalf of the tech oligopolists and selected big businesses such as Target, which were deemed "essential." Not coincidentally, blue-collar workers and small businesses are the core of the GOP base, while Silicon Valley and the plutocracy are the cash cows and power base of the Democrats.
But the omicron variant has — at least for now — turned that class dynamic on its head. Writing for the Brownstone Institute, Jeffrey A. Tucker explains:
The initial lockdowns had a strong class-based component. The working classes were assigned the job of delivering groceries, tending to the sick, driving the trucks filled with goods, keeping the lights on, and keeping the fuel running. The professional class, among whom were the people who pushed lockdowns in the name of disease avoidance/suppression, were assigned the job of staying home in their pajamas and staying safe.
It all happened seemingly in an instant. We all had to figure out whether our job qualified and what we should do. More striking at the time was the very notion that government bureaucrats could slice and dice the population this way, deciding what can open and what cannot, who must work and who must not, what we can and cannot do based on our station in life.
So it now seems obvious to me. This whole disaster would finally come to an end (or at least the end would begin) when it became obvious that the great strategy of class division and demarcation would fail to protect the Zoom class from infection.
That day has finally arrived, with cases soaring in many parts of the country and hitting everyone of every class, whether they are being "careful" and adhering to the "mitigation measures" or not. What's even more striking is how even the vaccines, which were supposed to codify the wisdom of class segregation, have not protected against infection.
Tucker uses the expression "Zoom class" to refer to those who can work from home with little or no trouble. Many people have found they prefer doing so on their laptops and are reluctant to go back to the office. For them, the response to COVID has been a boon.
The psychological identity of the Democrats' ruling class, the educated professionals, rests on their presumed intellectual and moral superiority over the basket of deplorables. Bette Midler spoke for almost the entire Democrat elite when she slammed the West Virginia constituents of Joe Manchin as toothless illiterates. They cannot be good unless their opponents (including most readers of the site) are bad. And that badness includes vaccine hesitancy and COVID vulnerability.
"Thousands who 'followed the rules' are about to get covid. They shouldn't be ashamed," headlines the Washington Post.
Feeling ashamed about getting covid-19 isn't healthy or helpful, experts agree. ... Remember: You're not a failure. "Millions of other people have gotten sick," (Seema) Varma says. "Unfortunately, you're not alone. You're not the only one. You're not the first one to get covid, and you won't be the last." And that positive test, she reiterates, "doesn't make you an irresponsible person."
So on the piece goes, with a complete flip of the narrative they have long preached: anyone who gets Covid has failed to comply, disregards of Fauci's advice, probably lives in a Red state, rejects the science, and otherwise bears the mark of selfishness and the desire to put freedom ahead of public health.
Getting Covid has heretofore been part of a human stain, consistent with the very long history of demonization of the diseased and the attempt to attribute sickness to moral sin. This impulse dates back to the ancient world, revived with a ferocity in 2020.
Graphic credit: Andrea Widburg.
The media capital, New York City, now is also the omicron capital:
On Dec. 26, 189,714 new cases of COVID-19 were reported. Of those, 54,828 came from New York City. This means that 28.9% of new cases reported for Dec. 26 came from the Big Apple.
Friends who live in the New York City area tell me that children coming home from college (a largely upper-middle-class pattern) are infecting everyone at home. It's happening in "the best of families."
Maybe that's why the CDC just cut the COVID isolation and quarantine period in half. "Our kind" — big Fauci fans — are being hurt.
If Jeffrey Tucker is correct, as I think he is, we may actually see the pandemic turn endemic. Read the whole thing and see what you think.
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