I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it: one individual’s mistake back in 2019 may have led to the deaths of millions of people around the world from COVID-19 and  caused immeasurable suffering in the lives of the majority of mankind that continues to this day.

People are clearly fed up with the health restrictions designed by the medical profession and politicians to protect them. They’ve been taking to the streets in protest around the world almost since the start, especially in democratic countries where people had taken their freedom for granted. They are blaming politicians, some of whom must surely wish now that they had chosen a different line of work.

Still, for many of those angry over COVID-related restrictions in the West, they are a long way from facing other restrictions of life experienced by people in countries like, say, Afghanistan. I’m thinking of the women living under the Taliban regime now and how angry they must be — and angrier still that they don’t have the freedom to demonstrate in the streets.

The COVID pandemic may be far from over, health authorities say. The Omicron variant may be milder than preceding variants, but it’s still sending people to hospital ERs and killing people. And with each new case, apparently, there is a chance of a mutation leading to a new variant. No one really knows how deadly the next variant might be or what the long-term effects of previous variants might do to the health of people in a decade or two or three. 

As so many health professionals have pointed out, the virus doesn’t care how angry people are about it. But the anger and the frustration are very real, and the health restrictions are, duh, most obviously having a detrimental effect on the mental health of so many people.

Meanwhile, as if a world reeling from the physical and psychological effects of COVID-19 wasn’t enough, leaders of NATO countries and Russia seem to be gearing up for war over Ukraine. Is it COVID-related madness and anger, too? Or opportunism? Or what? How is it in 2021 that leaders of nations would still send people into wars and kill thousands, perhaps millions of innocent folks in the process? How have we come to give these leaders — always dick-wagging men — the power to commit such atrocities?

I’m guessing there will be protest rallies around the world if NATO and Russia go to war, not that the rallies would make any more difference than the ones that have been staged against COVID health restrictions have made. Yes, people will be angry over the sheer folly of the madmen. I suppose venting their anger in protest rallies will give them some psychological release, just as COVID demos seem to do, even if they solve nothing else.

But all of the above is a mere prelude to the bigger crisis on the horizon: climate change. Billions of people will be affected — and they will be very angry about it. The COVID pandemic and a shootout between NATO and Russia will seem like child’s play by comparison.

Politicians are already taking heat for not doing enough to mitigate climate change. But, honestly, they have less hope in accomplishing that than they do in making COVID-19 go away. The climate damage is done. Mitigation efforts along with climate change rallies may provide some psychological release for people. But billions are still going to be displaced by climate change, if not killed outright. 

As modern civilization crumbles under wave after wave of climate-related events, people will be angrier than ever before. They’ll blame politicians. They’ll blame the corporate leaders whose companies polluted the planet. They’ll blame the people who work in their plants. 

But for now, few are seeing that elephant in the room.

They’re too angry about COVID.

Click, click . . .