Rein in the Panic

Kevin Drum, on his blog, has a few ideas about COVID panic.

I think it’s time to rein in the testing panic a bit. It’s probably also time to rein in the overall COVID panic a bit, but this message is aimed more at the media than at ordinary people.

News coverage of COVID is just beyond belief these days. Newspapers, TV, and the internet are blanketed every day with stories about new COVID records; reports of new CDC recommendations; interviews with people who think the new CDC recommendations are stupid; feature stories about how COVID is affecting _______; op-eds accusing everyone else of being either too strict or too loose about COVID rules; essays about what we’ve all learned from COVID; news about how things are going in Israel; other news about why we should ignore how things are going in Israel; feelgood clickbait about people who braved COVID to see an old friend; stories about the latest antics from a red-state governor positioning himself for 2024; and of course all the latest statistics in an EZ-to-read dashboard format.

If you are vaxxed and boosted, your current odds of getting COVID are roughly 1 in 500 over the course of a month. If you’re under 65, your odds of a serious infection are about 1 in 5,000. Your odds of dying are 1 in 200,000. Calm down.

I can’t quite find the middle ground here. I have to pay attention, but do I have to spend a lot of attention? Strangers are still a danger, but what if they are all vaccinated or have vaccinated, boosted, and had COVID? Am I safe?

This is so hard.

January 5, 2022


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