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The fear that cannot be cured


EARLY on, many believed Covid-19 was no more dangerous than influenza. Now, after the advent of the Omicron variant, it appears to be even milder.

On September 1 the Washington Examiner reported how the University of California, Berkeley, no more requires those unvaccinated against Covid-19 to wear masks. At first sight this might indicate that a weak ray of rationality has finally crept inside this bastion of higher education which succumbed to madness over the past year or so; the madness has in fact been at its strongest exactly where we should have expected critical thinking to prevail, in universities.

However, Berkeley now requires students not vaccinated against influenza to wear masks during influenza season!

Many of us had started to believe the insane fear of the coronavirus was subsiding, that finally rational thinking was gaining the upper hand. But this indicates it may in fact be the other way around.


Here’s my suggestion: The fear of Covid-19 has subsided, even disappeared. But the anxiety previously attached to it has not disappeared. It may even have grown deeper. Or why else would fear of the flu, until recently perceived as a minor inconvenience at least for young university students, now have been blown totally out of proportion? We simply have a new object of anxiety, even more irrational than the first. It is the flu now, next it might be common cold.

‘Those people should be locked up in a madhouse,’ a friend said.

‘Just wait until they lock us up,’ I replied.

This appeared on From Symptoms to Causes on September 4, 2022, and is republished by kind permission. 

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Thorsteinn Siglaugsson
Thorsteinn Siglaugsson
Thorsteinn Siglaugsson is an Icelandic economist, consultant and writer. Author of From Symptoms to Causes - Applying the Logical Thinking Process to an Everyday Problem.

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