Metaltræthed præger coronadebatten, selv om hospitalsindlæggelserne igen stiger.
More than 1 million Americans have died from the Corona virus but nobody seems to care.
Corona fatigue characterizes the debate, although hospital admissions are rising.
It’s Wednesday morning, the clock shows 5:45 am. I reach for my my cell phone. A text in red lights up on the screen: “You have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.” This is the first time I receive such a message, but I came back from Denmark three days ago, so the message does not surprise me.
“In Denmark, confidence in public authorities and health experts is fortunately much greater than it is in America. The Danish population has not experienced the same heartbreaking consequences as we see in the US, where people react to Covid as a political disease
On my first trip to Denmark in almost two years, not many people were wearing masks on the plane from Seattle to Iceland. From Iceland to Copenhagen, I was the only one out of a handful, and in the metro, wearing my KN95 mask made me stand out to the extend that I got an answer in English when I asked a Danish fellow passenger in Danish for directions.
“Prepare for more waves,” the White House warns, while I blink dully in front of my TV screen. I do not notice any reaction from the journalists in the conference room either.
In the last three months, 100,000 Americans have died from the Corona virus and the media talks about crossing a milestone of a total of over 1 million dead Americans from the virus. The truth is, however, that according to the University of Washington, America already passed this grim number last year if you include direct and indirect courses to Covid-19.
1 in 330 Americans have died, everyone knows or has heard of someone who has had the virus. The long-term effects of Covid have hit thousands of people struggling to hold on to their daily lives in a country where the fear of losing everything over night always lurks just below the surface. It is completely unfathomable that so many have died in the world’s richest country, where everyone over 12 has access to the vaccine. More than 300,000 Americans did not have to pay the ultimate price had they chosen to get vaccinated. But when it comes to public health policy, vaccines and masks have become an expression of political stance.
In Denmark, confidence in public authorities and health experts is fortunately much greater than it is in America. The Danish population has not experienced the same heartbreaking consequences as we see in the US, where people react to Covid as a political disease rather than a public health issue. During my ten days in Copenhagen and Aarhus, I sat in the metro and on busses, in cafes, restaurants, and bars, and everyone went about their lives as if Covid was a thing of the past. The Danes shrug when they hear of raising positive cases. They are vaccinated and know that if they get infected, they will most likely have mild symptoms.
Joe Biden has a reputation for being empathetic when it comes to talking about loss. More than anyone, he knows what loss does to a human being. But he, too, sounds rehearsed and tired when he softly whispers: “We must not become numb to loss.”
The truth is, we have become numb. The shock we felt in the beginning of the pandemic has subsided. The horror of the death toll from countries like Brazil, Italy, England, and the United States, where we saw quickly erected tents with people lying in a row in knock-out-beds in uneven bedding, the sound of pumping machines, coughing and rasping voices, have subsided. The news on tv no longer show such images but reports dryly about millions in isolation in Chinese cities, millions of unvaccinated positive cases in North Korea, and about a new virus wave in South Africa caused by a new variant, it is impossible to remember the name of. And in the meantime, I shake off the words from the news anchor, focus my attention on Ukraine and the debate on Roe v Wade – and embrace the world around me, even though the infection rates are higher than they have been for months.
Today was my son’s birthday. So I put the cellphone away and set the breakfast table with Danish flags and flowers by his plate as is custom. When he ran off to catch the school bus, I found a home Covid test. One strip told me, the test was negative. Some day there will be two strips showing me that I have tested positive. But until then, I choose to let the Danish side of my brain take over and let life feel a little lighter than it has the last few years.