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Virus Without Borders: Chapter 100

In the beginning, before vaccines, wrapped up for a trip to the supermarket. Photo, ©copyright Jim Bergman 2020

And Now For Something Completely Different


There's no more work. We're destitute. I'm afraid I have no choice but to sell you all for scientific experiments.

-Monty Python


What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?

- Bertolt Brecht


On May 11, The Biden Administration will withdraw Covid Public Health Emergency Status, declared by President Trump in 2020. The directive from the White House reads, in part:


"To be clear, continuation of these emergency declarations until May 11 does not impose any restriction at all on individual conduct with regard to COVID-19. They do not impose mask mandates or vaccine mandates. They do not restrict school or business operations. They do not require the use of any medicines or tests in response to cases of COVID-19."


The virus has become endemic in the United States, its prevention and/or treatment routine, or so we are led to believe by our politicians, despite the fact there are still 500 deaths a day. The Covid virus remains a deadly virus. It has mutated, true, but not weakened enough to say that it will never threaten us again, or that we have reached the elusive herd immunity. Indeed, it is more transmissible, may still surprise us, and it is here to stay.


The callous disregard of our government, its imminent withdrawal of subsidies for vaccines, tests, boosters and viral medication for those uninsured—our poorest population—reminds me of the less-than-attentive lifeguard at my pool who turns his back to sweep the deck, or test the chlorine, or chat to a swimmer headed for the shower. I look up from my lane and realize: we're swimming laps at our own risk. If  I have a heart attack or swallow water and choke, there is no one competent or caring enough to save me.


It is the way it is, some say, an expression I loathe. Acceptance? We accept at our peril. Transcontinental travel and migration, the latter often related to unabated climate change, war or famine, is a recipe for a continuing Covid pandemic, or another viral pandemic, as yet unidentified, soon to surface.  By then the pharmaceutical companies, about to launch their $80 vaccine, will be even richer. Just a reminder that it is our tax dollars that paid for the development of these effective vaccines.


One million people have died in the global Covid pandemic. One million. Each one of them has a name, a family, a loved one. Worldwide, there are still 2.3 billion people unvaccinated against COVID  and 30 million uninsured people in the United States who will not have access to free vaccines, or tests, or viral treatments after May 11.


So here we are:  I have reached Chapter 100 of Virus Without Borders. There was a false ending to this story a while back—and then I decided to continue. But Chapter 100 and the President's announcement feels like an appropriate –though unsatisfactory—ending to this personal witnessing document.

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