Why do conservatives take some diseases seriously, but not others?

Yeah, that was a remarkably bizarre statement. If they had said, “Masks work, therefore, please save them for frontline workers who need them especially the most,” that would make perfect sense.

But they phrased it as, “They don’t work, therefore, please save them for frontline workers!”

Yes. Note that your links are both from March.


It’s only incredibly bizarre if you are completely unaware of the state of medical knowledge at the time. See my link in the prior post.

I tend to think that in a lot of ways, COVID was the perfect storm of just lethal and transmissible enough to be a legitimate public health crisis, but just not spectacular enough to engage everyone’s worst fears and paranoia.

I mean, if it had the exact same transmissibility and lethality, but did so through some much more visible and prominent mechanism- say violent and uncontrollable diarrhea, people would have not have claimed it was “just another flu”. The same if it was more lethal; if more people were killed by it, or if it was more uniformly lethal, people would have been concerned.

Combine that above with the high prevalence of asymptomatic transmission and the fact that for the vast majority of non-elderly people, it doesn’t amount to much more than getting sick for a week, and it’s the perfect storm for a lot of resistance on the part of the population.

Personally, the part I can’t quite wrap my head around is why asymptomatic transmission seems to be such a difficult concept for people to grasp. It’s like they can’t conceive of being a carrier of a disease without actually having symptoms yourself. I think that’s a big part of the issue- that’s the main cause of all the anti-mask stupidity that the GOP glommed onto, it’s a big part of the whole “open up now!” mentality, etc… People can’t get it through their thick skulls that just because YOU aren’t obviously sick, that it means that you can’t transmit it to others. THAT is why you wear a mask, not necessarily to protect yourself. THAT is why lockdowns were necessary; if it was something where everyone who got COVID had fever and/or was violently coughing or something, self-quarantine would have been much simpler, and people would have policed each other- people coughing would have had to go home from work, not be allowed into stores, etc…

But the asymptomatic transmission is the stumbling block; they can’t wrap their head around that and what it means, or they’re too damned selfish to put that ahead of their own desire to go out to eat or to a movie or whatever for 12 months.

Without all of those factors (extreme unlikelihood to kill non-elderly people, mild illness in most non-elderly people who show symptoms, and a high prevalence of asymptomatic transmission), it would have caused a lot more concern. But those three kind of self-reinforce, and cause people to dismiss it as “just another flu” or whatever else. The one I’m hearing now is 'Well, it’s going to be endemic, let’s just get back to the way things were." as if somehow it has run its course and nothing can be done.


This is definitely true.

It’s true, though. It is going to be endemic and kill some number of people each year, same as the flu has always done. Once everyone is vaccinated who’s going to be, what else are you waiting for?

Do you want to address my points and make some of your own, or just post links that don’t actually dispute what I am saying?

Yeah, some people disagreed with the WHO. Those people used data and evidence to make their case, and pretty quickly convinced the WHO to reevaluate their guidelines.

That’s literally what your article says:

Emphasis mine.

You’re forgetting that there’s still the population of 0-11 year old kids who can’t be vaccinated yet; even though they’re at less risk than adults, it’s still a non-negligible risk. Maybe once we have a vaccine for them, and some time for them to have been vaccinated, then we just say “It is what it’s going to be.” and not worry about it.

Until then, it seems a bit reckless to just call it quits.

That’s not what it said. At least it wasn’t the entire statement. You left off the part at the end where it said “there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly”.
IOW, it might not work if you wear it under your nose or keep taking it off to do things like talk or lick your fingers to count money.

The irony is, if Trump had gone full hard the other way and taken the pandemic extremely seriously, his approval ratings would have skyrocketed and he would have won reelection in a landslide.

National leaders (such as New Zealand’s PM) that took Covid seriously from the start were rewarded with massive votes.

The risk for children is tiny:

It’s lower than the risk from seasonal flu, and we’ve never seen the need to close schools or shut down the economy because of that.

Humans are notoriously bad at risk assessment. The sensible thing to do is to compare it to other risks we are more comfortable with to decide what measures are worth taking.

New evidence is currently calling that into question in Israel, where (outside of religious communities) quarantine be and vaccinations were met with far more enthusiasm than the US, and cases were accordingly much lower per capita. They went back to business as usual, until recently new spikes have led to additional precautions. It looks like the Delta variant may be more contagious and dangerous to children, not to mention the risk of unvaccinated children spreading the disease to others.

I’m not sure this the right thread to discuss the actual seriousness of the disease, effects on kids, etc.

Back to my statement above, about it being all about the politics, McConnell just came out and said he won’t vote to increase the debt ceiling. That was not an issue at all under Trump – why do conservative take some debt ceiling increases seriously and not others?

That’s bad news. We’ve had the Delta variant in the UK for a while now; cases have been rising fast but so far there have been far less hospitalisations than before thanks to the vaccine.

For that matter, why do conservatives take some Supreme Court vacancies seriously and not others?

The answer to this and all the other questions in this thread is “political advantage,” which is the only thing they give two fucks about anymore.

There is a very simple and very logical answer to the OP. It was in the electoral interests of the Republican party to downplay the seriousness of Covid, and make basic health science (like masks, vaccines, and social distancing) a party political issue. So they decided to do so, knowing full well it would result in the deaths of thousands of Americans. They sat down did the math, and decided Covid denial was their best shoot at re-election, so Covid denial it was.

Ebola happened during a democrat’s term in office, so xenophobically playing up its seriousness served their interests then, so that’s what they did.

Is anyone actually in doubt this is what happened?

A couple of posters in this thread, apparently.

This is a succinct description of why conservative politicians downplayed the crisis, but there has also been discussion of why the conservative base was receptive to and accepting of this demented alternative-reality gaslighting.

I think it’s just hard to give up on the idea that one of our two political parties is no longer serious about governing, acting in good faith, or working for the benefit of the American people. The press has the same problem.

In the latest demonstration, they refused to back a bipartisan January 6th commission, so the House went ahead on their own. Then, McCarthy tried to put two House members on the commission who were basically cheering on the insurrectionists and then voted to overturn the election results. These are not the actions of a party acting in good faith.

That’s fairly obvious, Ebola was a completely abstract issue for %99.999999 of Americans towing the party line had no effect on their day to day life any more than foreign policy in the South China Sea.

Covid was absolutely not. And the easy, politically palatable, answer was to ignore it. Don’t change your lifestyle, don’t wear a mask, don’t distance, those things are a pain. Its easy to believe fox news and decry the whole thing as a hoax, right up to the point you are being intubated.