COVID-19 is not a behaviorally spread disease
Our policy goal for COVID-19 should be about mitigating risk, not about eliminating risk.
One common theme we have seen from many people over the last two years is a sense of shame if someone catches COVID-19, or if someone's child catches the disease. The infected person was not careful enough or failed to protect his child from infection. If we only listen to the High Priests of The Science, then they would be able to protect us, so if we are infected we must have slipped up or "sinned" in some way. It is very much a works-based "salvation" from a respiratory virus.
All of this needs to stop. COVID-19 is an airborne virus. You get it by breathing, which is something your body does automatically. If you stop breathing, you will die within minutes. COVID-19 is not a behaviorally spread disease. If someone catches COVID-19, it is not because he was not careful enough or because he "sinned." It is because a respiratory virus spreads indiscriminately. Even being fully vaccinated and getting a booster is no guarantee that you will be free from infection. There are viruses that are behaviorally spread, but this airborne respiratory virus is not and never was one of them.
This is why it is so depraved for people to mock the unvaccinated for getting sick, and even worse to dance on their graves if they die of the disease. Yes, getting vaccinated does reduce the risk of developing an infection, and significantly reduces the risk of serious disease or death - especially for people in vulnerable populations. But to say that someone who made a different medical choice than you did somehow "deserved" to die is simply wrong. It is self-righteous to assume that they "deserved" to die, and you "deserve" to live. It is a pagan works-based salvation that treats avoiding COVID-19 as a religious sacrament.
Gaslighting the public about vaccine efficacy
With a rash of breakthrough COVID-19 infections, some people are now pretending that the vaccines were "never" sold as a way to prevent infection. Yes, they were, and everyone with a functioning memory knows it. President Joe Biden said that very thing last summer at a town hall meeting: If you get vaccinated, you will not get sick. It turns out that was wrong. As new mutations have appeared and we have gathered more data, it has become clear that the vaccines do not completely prevent infection.
To my friends on the Right: This does not mean anyone "lied" about the vaccines back in the Spring and Summer of 2021. It means we learned more as we gathered more data, and that new mutations appeared and undermined the efficacy of the vaccines at preventing illness. But it does not help the cause of pandemic mitigation to now pretend the vaccines were never sold as preventing almost all infection. That is not and never was true, and it feeds conspiracy theories and general distrust of public health authorities.
This is why a "Zero COVID" strategy is a fool's errand. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly said he does not want anyone to get infected with COVID-19 at all. Whether he uses the words or not, that is a "Zero COVID" strategy. That strategy is based on a myth. We will never reach Zero COVID. The virus is endemic now. It will never go away. What is worse is that Fauci knows this. We have to be realistic. As it was from the very beginning of the pandemic, our policy goal should be about mitigating risk, not about eliminating risk. The former is possible, but the latter will never happen.
Chill out about wearing a mask
I took some heat on Twitter for saying that I obey county government's mask mandate and wear a mask to shop for groceries. Multiple people demanded I do not comply with the mandate. But what the people pressuring me to not comply do not realize is that they are also engaged in groupthink. They mark themselves as part of the correct side by having their faces uncovered.
There are things about COVID-19 policy that are bad and should be resisted – specifically things that infringe on First Amendment rights. But wearing a mask is not somewhere that we need to draw a hard line in the sand. It is an inconvenience, but I am not going to make a store clerk's life more difficult over being inconvenienced for twenty minutes. It is just not that big of a deal. People get way too excited over mask mandates.