America has largely moved on from COVID-19, even as much of the world is still deep in its throes.

Thing is, many politicians in the U.S., as well as left-leaning media outlets, would have us believe otherwise. Sure, in their heart of hearts, they want COVID to go away, for the world to truly move past it. But that would be bad for business.

So, the fear-mongering continues, as do the incessant lectures about the vaccine and subsequent goals and targets for injections. The prizes and giveaways, as long as one complies. More reason, in their minds, to keep us afraid, for people to continue wearing masks. More reason for politicians to continue wielding control through threats and coercion. Business-crippling lockdowns and budget-busting relief plans.

The daily news cycle is rife with stories about the unvaccinated and a possible surge in cases, which, again, they warn, could overwhelm hospitals. The focus now is on new strains of the virus, the more transmissible and dangerous variants — Alpha, Delta, and, now, Lambda, which, news reports say, might be resistant to vaccines.

The vaccination rate, beyond the first wave of inoculations, has hardly budged, despite myriad incentives and presidential goals. North Carolina is a prime example, a state in which 56% of the adult population has received at least one dose. Gov. Roy Cooper set a vaccination target of around 66%. President Biden wanted that the rate even higher, at 70%. 

As of Tuesday morning, the state health department says, 388 people were in the hospital with COVID, with 231 new cases. For what it’s worth, some 10.5 million people live in the state, and most of us have gotten on with our lives, to the chagrin, unfortunately, of some. About 160 million people in the U.S., about half the country, are fully vaccinated, significantly short of Biden’s goal.

It’s pretty much where we’ll stay, though the ubiquitous chatter will continue.

The president this week took the stage to — once again — push vaccines, going as far as asking employers to set up workplace clinics and offer paid time off for workers to get the shot, The New York Times writes. Here, Cooper visited Thermo Fisher Scientific in Asheville, where the company set up an on-site vaccine clinic for employees to receive their jab, a news release says.

“It takes all of us working together to beat this pandemic and I’m grateful for employers like Thermo Fisher that are stepping up to make it easier for their employees to get vaccinated,” Cooper said.

Go, team!

This kind of talk will only intensify, as the latest round of fearmongering focuses on the Delta variant, now blamed for more than half the cases in the U.S. but also wreaking havoc around the world. Sydney, Australia, is under lockdown, and places such as Fiji, and Bangladesh are reeling, news reports say.

Governments, in turn, will continue resorting to lockdowns and restrictions on individual liberties. Spreading that fear and loathing on at levels more virulent than the nastiest of viruses.

“… [N]ew curbs on travel and daily life stretched from Australia and Bangladesh to South Africa and Germany, where authorities over the weekend set new limits on travelers from ‘virus-variant zones’ such as Portugal and Russia,” the Washington Post says. “South Africa … extended a nightly curfew and introduced a ban on gatherings, alcohol sales, indoor dining, and some domestic travel for 14 days to halt a worrying surge in cases driven by the Delta variant.”

Local governments throughout the U.S. are, for the time being, only “advising” people to mask up indoors.

North Carolina has endured an unconstitutional state of emergency and a string of COVID-related executive orders for well over a year now. The latest iteration from Cooper, issued June 11, continues a requirement for masks in schools and advises face coverings at large indoor events. The order is set to expire July 30, but I’d bet the governor already has a replacement in his pocket. More of the same.

I honestly don’t understand people’s reticence toward getting the vaccine — yes, it’s a vaccine — and I have little patience for cockamamy conspiracy theories delivered straight from the couch. But, for the umpteenth time, I will say that we’ve probably reached our zenith in terms of COVID inoculations, save for rounding people up at the point of a gun and jamming a needle into their arms. Privately, some politicians would probably wish to do just that. 

Without a doubt, we, as liberty-loving people, should be afraid. Not because of some virus, but rather because certain public officials and sanctimonious media outlets are infatuated with the power and control this pandemic, with extreme maleficence, has bestowed upon them.

John Trump is managing editor of Carolina Journal and author of “Still & Barrel: Craft Spirits in the Old North State.”