It’s been a long time since humanity faced a microbial enemy of such voracious abilities. In my life time AIDS was the the big chiller that stopped the free love of my youth dead in it’s tracks. I stood outside bars with pamphlets and condoms. Some of us tried to educate. There was a lot of loss. Gay men dropped like flies. Those who got got blood infusions died… those who had sex died. It was tragic and scary. Then there was the ignorant violence of those who defend their hate in God’s name. That period of time in my life would shape my thoughts about Covid-19…. I think if you have not experienced catastrophic loss or felt the helplessness of not knowing any where to turn… or even trust… being ostracized. You might not get how quickly a virus can become a social tsunami of the unmanageable and show the weaknesses of a society.

Through out the early period of AIDS there was wildly inaccurate information and speculation. It was cruel and criminal. It brought out the absolute worst in some people. There was also a growing movement to raise awareness and figure out a cure. There were a lot of false hopes, dead ends, and eventually successes. Almost 40 years later AIDS is no longer a death sentence. We have come to a manageable point of social responsibility and medical intervention.

Covid-19 is pushing all the same social buttons of fear, distrust, hate, compassion, etc… It is also an extremely fast evolving virus. Which constantly changes the rules as we try to stay ahead of it. Like AIDS we are going to have to stop blaming/denying/politicizing and commit to a unified focus to stop the viral spread. Unlike AIDS we are not given the grace of time and because it is an air born pathogen it will always have the upper hand in how it moves through people and populations. People resisted wearing condoms to stop AIDS for all kinds of excuses related to ignorance and selfish reasons. Until it affected them directly. All the same kinds of arguments are being made about masks…. social distancing…. this is putting an huge strain on our Healthcare systems. To the point of near collapse. The phobias and resistance surrounding vaccines is discouraging and allowing the virus to get better at mutation in order to survive.

As I’m writing this I feel sad, angry and perplexed a the nature of those who continue to look at the situation and (I’m not including those with medical exceptions, those can’t get the vaccine because of age or other legitimate reasons) have decided to just let others die or get very sick.

Plagues are a social disease. They attack the systems, structures and the social order of things because it has found the weaknesses that will be exploited for their survival.

The way this virus is going we are going to be in this for a long time. To put it bluntly that means getting real about it and stop thinking it going to end and we all go back to our lives. Because we’re not. Plagues are like that they reshape populations and redefine social norms. Look at the Black Plague, leprosy, small pox to name just a few. Our survival depends on it. If we continue to adapt and find the ways to fight this virus then we have options based on the reality of how this virus is.

People didn’t stop having sex because of AIDS they learned how to have safer sex.

I encourage you to get vaccinated. Wear a mask and do what will change the course of this virus. We have done this before. We can do this.

One Reply to “Plagues….”

  1. You and I are about the same age and I just had this conversation with a friend last week. They are younger and don’t remember AIDS the way I do. Going to the Maryland Institute College of Art in the late 70’s in the Baltimore City environment where there was/is a vibrant LGBTQ community AIDS was omnipresent. You are absolutely right!


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