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Editorial: Painful lessons of COVID


The SARS-CoV-2 virus caused panic and errors future generations must learn from. The telltale spike proteins exposed more than our weakened immune systems.

Civil liberties should never be allowed to take a backseat to public health ever again. There’s a compromise that was too easily surrendered at the peak of the pandemic. We’re not China, where a zero-spread mantra has led to people being imprisoned in their own homes.

Health officials here spent too much time on those who were already sick and not the asymptomatic. The masking advice was handled poorly; the vaccination mandates were too draconian; washing your groceries was the height of hysteria.

Now the DPH is facing a class-action lawsuit for allegedly using Google technology to covertly install tracking apps on over 1 million Android phones. The state made a big push to crowdsource the COVID infection warning system, but if these allegations prove true, it was a step in the wrong direction.

We had a choice to participate or not in that program and it should have ended there.

It’s clear we all need to evolve after this pandemic. When you’re feeling ill — from a cold or COVID — stay home. Don’t go near the elderly, the very young or those with compromised immune systems. At least be compassionate enough to warn others.

Congregate housing, we already knew from SARS, are Petri dishes. That’s where the focus should have been from the start. We let COVID get a foothold into the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home here and worse nationwide.

Flights from Wuhan, the epicenter of the pandemic, should have been banned immediately. The Chinese government remains hesitant to admit they botched the coronavirus spread and should come out with a forceful post-mortem.

The World Health Organization still looks toothless and too politically focused.

The New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), a nonpartisan civil rights firm, is suing the DPH over what it alleges is a “brazen disregard for civil liberties” by installing “spyware that deliberately tracks and records movement and personal contacts onto over a million mobile devices without their owners’ permission and awareness.”

Spyware is nothing new, so why didn’t the DPH take steps to guard against such accusations? They won’t say as the lawsuit remains in play.

This we do know. The virus does not discriminate. It has no political agenda. It is designed to spread and kill.

That’s how we should approach this. COVID kills but we don’t need to trample on each other to solve the problem.

“Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world, yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history, yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise,” Albert Camus wrote in “The Plague.”

He published it in 1947, and he sure had 2020 pegged.

“We tell ourselves that pestilence is a mere bogy of the mind, a bad dream that will pass away. But it doesn’t always pass away and, from one bad dream to another, it is men who pass away,” he added.



It doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe next time it won’t.



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