GUIZERIX: Rules for thee, but do the rules matter anymore?

Published 4:00 am Thursday, August 12, 2021

After nearly two years of COVID — and all the rules and regulations and discussion of rights that goes along with it — it seems as though the pandemic has morphed into a plague of misinformation and mixed messaging from those we’re supposed to trust.

Take, for example, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., a three-term mayor who’s flip-flopped a couple of times during the pandemic and ended up paying a hefty price.

Last week, the city was surprised to learn that Flaggs had contracted COVID-19 — and, that after months of encouraging others to get vaccinated, he had not received the COVID-19 vaccine himself.

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In The Post, Flaggs is recorded at least twice as saying he would “lead by example” and take the vaccine when it was offered. Months went by, and the public wrongly assumed he’d kept his word and gotten the shot.

The timeline surrounding Flaggs’ illness is murky, and he admitted to The Post that the press release sent by his office was confusing in relation to the actual date of the onset of symptoms.

If the only thing we had to be confused about was Flaggs’ virus timeline, that would be one thing. But unfortunately, it seems like so many wires have been crossed since the pandemic started that we don’t know which way is up or down (but some sure feel like they know what’s right and what’s left).

All this begs the question: With so much conflicting information since the onset of the pandemic, how do we know what to do to protect ourselves — or if we should even attempt to protect ourselves?

We’ve heard that masks don’t work, that they do work and that they work, but not if you’re dealing with the Delta variant. If you have COVID-19, we’ve been told you should quarantine for 14 days — no, 10 days.

We’ve heard that all Mississippi’s hospitals are full — but the Mississippi State Department of Health conveniently disabled its hospital bed availability tracker the same day as that announcement.

We’ve heard that asymptomatic people can’t spread the virus, that vaccinated people are safe and can go mask-free.

Every time a new development in the pandemic happens, the public is told a hundred different “truths” about it, and eventually told all of those truths are falsehoods.

There are people, a good number of them, who want to follow the rules and end the pandemic. However, it’s next to impossible to follow the rules when the powers that be continually change them.

What is needed is an unbiased, data-driven simplification of regulations based on the months of COVID-related data scientists have gathered. There shouldn’t be a question of what to do or not do; people should be presented with facts and asked to process them and respond accordingly.

“Rules for thee, but not for me,” the saying goes. Or, in this case, “The rules continually change, and you’re expected to deal with it without question.”