Public health has been under attack. Community care and cooperation is natural and desirable. Moral disengagement is anything but normal.
Excellent review of our country's dysfunctional attitudes and behavior. To me it reads like a catalog of ways to capitulate to Darwinian self-extinction. So why did all this perversity happen? I contrast it to the general enthusiasm and mass compliance to isolate and to vaccinate during the polio epidemic in the 1950s (even though early on there was a bad batch of vaccine that gave people polio). I think it all boils down to 4 factors:
(1) In an era of monstrous (good paying, secure) job loss and unprecedented wealth inequality, people over valued the last remaining resource and pride that they have left - their personal liberty and freedom. They did so, even though this is an illusion, as civic society has become less stable. These are the unvaccinated MAGA folks. Now they continue to get infected and die in excess numbers.
(2) We had a narrow-minded, self-serving, exploitative, mendacious leadership which promoted anti-science, disease misinformation, retarded effective interventions, and promoted false pride and liberty, thus minimizing and, even disparaging and avoiding, actually possible collective public health strategies. (This class remained mostly safe due to their individual financial capacity to avoid infection risk.) This approach enjoyed sacrificing the poor and lower class ("essential") workers and the unproductive nursing home residents to the plague.
(3) The capture of (an always elite, haughty and arrogant) scientific medical care establishment by impersonal bureaucracies and a well established for-profit capitalist exploitation medical system created a chasm of distrust and alienation which, after the initial recognition of "heroes in the hospitals" turned sour as people rejected science as something others wanted to do to them, instead of for them or with them.
(4) Years of neoliberal economics, capitalist mantras, climate change disinformation, declining take home wages, and falsely conceived wars and an expanding reactionary rigid fundamentalist religion have turned the collective foundation of the US from a coherent enthusiastic democratic society, to a collection of fragmented groups, struggling against each other and against more loss. This has destroyed any collective sense of common welfare, empathy and support for public health or civic strength.
Thus the USA was a perfect host for Sars-Co-V-2 which exploited all our societal faults to reach 100,000,000 documented cases and over 1,000,000 deaths and still counting.
Telling people they have "Covid Anxiety Syndrome" which isn't real and that their Covid fears are irrational and part of a mental illness and there must be something wrong with YOU because you consider Covid a dangerous virus (your knowledge is of course based on scientific fact). Being told to "seek counseling" for the moral outrage you feel at having to put up with everyone acting like Covid doesn't exist and like your life doesn't matter at all.
I've had this happen and been told it's a cold/flu ENOUGH. Someone even told me "there's been no deaths lately" and the charming "mostly people over 65 and sick people die from it, and that's not you".