Since September 4th, 2021 over 400,000 American have died of COVID. On that date, the Washington Post published an article titled “The Covid Endgame: Is the Pandemic Over Already? Or Are There Years To Go?. It quoted Dr. Jay Bhattacharya who said:
The emergency phase of the disease is over. Now, we need to work very hard to undo the sense of emergency. We should be treating covid as one of 200 diseases that affect people.
Since that time, Dr. Bhattacharya has talked about the pandemic endlessly and exclusively, telling us the emergency phase of the disease is over and we need to work very hard to undo the sense of emergency. This has been his consistent message since March 2020. However, Dr. Bhattacharya has not modeled the behavior he demands from others. I have not witnessed his every utterance, but I can’t recall him ever talking about any of those other 199 diseases.
It’s interesting to ponder an alternate reality where Dr. Bhattacharya took his own advice and treated COVID as one of 200 diseases that affects people. Would he be repeatedly invited on Fox News to discuss migraines? Would the Brownstone Institute and Wall Street Journal publish his musings on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis? Would he receive rewards for his discussions of glioblastomas? How much social media adulation would he receive for his thoughts on pancreatic cancer? Would podcasters invite him to discuss ALS? Would he be invited to testify in front of Congress about Crohn’s disease? Would he be asked to testify in courts regarding Parkinson’s disease? Would the Governor of Florida relentlessly promote his views on polycystic kidney disease? Would he be invited to the Oval Office to discuss psoriasis?
Wise people have learned to be very careful when making predictions this pandemic. But based on how I would answer these questions, I confidently predict Dr. Bhattacharya will never treat COVID as just one of 200 diseases that affects people.
I’ll happily update this essay if he proves me wrong.