As someone who studies history I often wondered how ordinary people thought about living through such huge historical events. Now I know they were sick and tired of that shit.
Gee I wonder how people are going to respond to being told they can’t go to parties and see family and friends by the government on one hand and being told they have to go to work every day including if they’re literally infected on the other. It’s almost as if America’s public health agencies and politicians have zero fucking credibility left.
I just read this excellent article by The Atlantic about the impact of Covid on immunocompromised people. As an immunocompromised person myself, it really spoke to me. While the article is long, I specifically wanted to highlight the parts taking about ableism.
I am so happy a piece of journalism is acknowledging how fucking disgusting and ableist society’s reaction to the disabled, elderly, and generally infirm has been during Covid. People like me- who are at a high risk of Covid- are treated like burdens. Like we’re dragging society down. Like it’s our fault things aren’t back to normal yet. I have heard some people say things that straight-up sound like eugenics, that we should let “the weak” die.
We’ve made enormous strides but our society still has so little compassion for the disabled.
I was one of the first Americans to get COVID in February 2020 as a teenager. Here’s how I’m doing now (it’s not good). Please continue your COVID safety protocols.
[Posted July 10, 2022]
[ID under the cut]
1: A black and white comic. A cartoony boy, Joey, is wearing a birthday hat, looks sad, and holds a cake that says “2 + years” on it. Text reads: “I’m 21 years old and 2 years + 5 months post-covid. I have not improved.”
2: A drawing of Joey, masked, walking past a food truck. The truck emits a stink wave with skulls and crossbones within it. Text reads: “My worst symptom is still parosmia. COVID destroyed and rewired my smell nerves so everything smells and tastes like rotting meat and old sewage. It’s been 2 years and this doesn’t get any easier.”
3: Drawing of Joey clutching his stomach and opening a door. Text reads: “Everything I eat makes me really, really sick. Everything. I regularly spend 3 hours a day in the bathroom.”
4: Drawing of Joey laying down on a pillow. Text reads: “I finally got diagnosed with post-viral chronic fatigue syndrome. I get really dizzy when I walk, and my head feels like it’s filled with cotton. I fall asleep early every night and can hardly wake up in the morning. I’m barely functioning.”
5: Joey looks down at a smartphone. Text reads: “Here’s a look into trying to plan a masked, distanced, outdoor meetup with friends.” A large smartphone shows the text conversation: “Noon?” “Sorry — I get really sick around then. :(“ “How about 4:00? We can do dinner later.” “Sorry, I don’t think I’ll be able to eat anything.” “Ok, hmmm… how about 7:00 after dinner?” “That’s too late for me. I’ll be too fatigued.”
Joey looks, upset, at the camera. He’s in a chair gesturing to his laptop. Text reads: “I’ve also lost many friends. Most people think I’m a bummer who is taking COVID too seriously (I’m not).” Internet post reads: “ughhhh this guy is SO annoying and makes everyone feel bad about themselves!!! just stop being my friend UGH!” An arrow points to the message that says: “this happened.”
A doctor, a tall man with short hair and a surgical mask, talks to Joey. Joey sits in a N95 mask and looks worried. Text reads: “I’ve seen a bajillion doctors with no success. Most of them treat me pretty poorly. I’m American, so this has cost me several thousand dollars.” A conversation between Joey and the doctor reads: Doctor: “I prescribe smell therapy!” Joey: “I’ve been doing smell therapy for two years already.” Doctor: “lol right. Anyways, this is $590.” A disclaimer at the bottom of the drawing says: “If you’re seeking treatment in the Philadelphia area, DM me for a warning against this hospital.”
Joey gestures to a block of text. Text reads: “Here is a list of everything I’ve tried (nothing has made me feel any better): Many blood tests, stool samples, dental surgery, 2 nasal endoscopies, an MRI, a colonoscopy, an endoscopy, anti-seizing medication, nasal steroids, smell therapy, beta blockers (heart meds), and a million doctor’s appointments. I was supposed to get a stellate ganglion block to reset my nervous system, but the hospital cancelled it on the morning of. Same hospital as earlier. Philadelphians beware.”
Joey looks sadly out the window while a group of people passes by on the sidewalk outside. Text reads: “I mostly just feel alone. I’m still isolating for my life and for others’. I’m constantly bombarded with people who don’t care about my life.”
Joey sits sadly with his head in his hands. Text reads: “COVID isn’t over. We’re in a surge right now (summer 2020), but I often feel like the only American still following proper safety protocol. As much as you want COVID to be over, I want it tenfold. But it’ll probably never be over for me. At 19, COVID destroyed my body and much of my future. Please care about other people."
Antivaxxers are really out here hollering “PeOpLe ShOuLd bE aBLe tO dEcIdE tO nOt GeT vAcCiNaTeD!!!”
They can? Nobody’s hunting you down with a tranquilizer gun and shooting the COVID-19 vaccine into you. You getting fired from your job or not being allowed into shops or onto airplanes because you’re not vaccinated is not you being forced to get vaccinated.
It’s you facing the consequences of your actions.
Nobody is required to deal with your plague rat ass. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, stay home.
"[M]any people with chronic and debilitating conditions are more vulnerable than they were before the pandemic began. The policies that protected them during the pandemic’s height are gone—and yet SARS-CoV-2 is still here, adding to the dangers they face. The losses have been written off, Bortko told me: Cases of long COVID in Madison County have been dismissed as products of 'risk factors' that don’t apply to others; deaths, too, have been met with a shrug of 'Oh, they were old; they were unhealthy.' If, this winter, COVID sickens or kills more people who are older, more people who are immunocompromised, more people of color, more essential and low-income workers, more people in rural communities, 'there will be no press coverage,' Hlatshwayo Davis said. Americans already expect that members of these groups will die."
"COVID still kills roughly as many Americans every week as died on 9/11. It is on track to kill at least 100,000 a year—triple the typical toll of the flu. Despite gross undercounting, more than 50,000 infections are being recorded every day. The CDC estimates that 19 million adults have long COVID. Things have undoubtedly improved since the peak of the crisis, but calling the pandemic 'over' is like calling a fight 'finished' because your opponent is punching you in the ribs instead of the face."