Two years on, many opinions remain unchanged

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Can you remember when you first heard the term “COVID-19?”

Some of us hoped Americans would unite together to fight a common enemy, the way they did after Pearl Harbor or more recently and briefly, September 11, 2001.

Instead, many of us seized on Internet claptrap, lies spread by unscrupulous politicians and media bent on pandering to fearful, gullible viewers and voters to the point where even wearing a mask represented a political statement. 

A million deaths and two years later, punctuated with months of squabbling over stimulus aid, street protests, vaccine mandates, chronic supply problems, compulsory mask-wearing, and enforced social distancing, nearly half of us haven’t changed our minds.

Two years on, a third of us have lost friends to disagreements over COVID rules and 61% think if there were to be another pandemic, Americans would be more divided on ways of dealing with the virus in terms of related regulations.

It has to be frustrating for public health officials who hope to sway public opinion in order to make progress in their efforts, but we shouldn’t be surprised that Nebraskans are slow to change their minds.

Slow and steady is the tradition when it comes to the Cornhusker state of mind.

According to a recent study by MyBioSource.com, 43% of us haven’t changed our opinion about Covid rules and regulations since the pandemic struck.

Yet, more of us have become receptive to official guidance, 38%, than have become more hostile, 19%, according to a survey of 3,442 people. Overall, that represents a 9% overall swing towards supporting the rules that were imposed.

Whether through competent management or dumb luck, Nebraska has fared pretty well when it comes to dealing with the pandemic.

According to a WalletHub survey of 50 states and the District of Columbia, comparing community transmission, positive testing, hospitalizations and death as well as vaccination rate, Nebraskans had it relatively easy.

We’re fourth-best in hospitalization rate, eighth in death rate, and fifth in the level of community transmission.

There’s little sign that COVID-19 will stop mutating anytime soon, and who knows when the next pandemic will rear its head — Nebraska has its first confirmed case of monkeypox, according to officials.

Let’s hope some form of public sanity and responsible leadership returns in time to avoid needless suffering.

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