Since early 2020, the world has been experiencing a pandemic due to the novel coronavirus we now call SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19. This has claimed the lives of 767,433 Americans and 5,126,415 people worldwide according to the Johns Hopkins Corona Virus Resource Center.
Naturally, this has brought changes to our world we have all become accustomed to living with, including wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent use of hand sanitizers. Most Americans have received vaccinations from a variety of vaccines including those produced by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. In other countries many other vaccines are being used with varying effectiveness.
I’ve just returned from a trip to Europe where I experienced the full impact of the changes Covid has brought to our world in a very personal way. In preparation for my trip, I had to prepare documentation far beyond the usual federal passport and travel documents. It was necessary to also produce documentation of vaccination more than two weeks before departure. I had to have a PCR Covid test performed less than 72 hours before departure with a written report of a negative test.
Since my trip was predominately to France, I needed a French Health Pass, which had to be obtained from a French government website where most of the information was only in French. I also needed a Certificate of International Travel, also only available from a French government website. Getting all this information in written documents took me most of a day and challenged me to the full extent of my computer expertise.
Finally prepared, I began my travel at the Orlando airport where the agent at check-in required my passport, proof of vaccination, and a negative Covid test. She was uninterested in my French Health Pass or Certificate of International Travel. She lamented that she had been turned into an immigration agent, not just an airline counter agent. Upon arrival in France, no one checked my documents until I embarked upon my river cruise ship.
The river cruise ship checked my passport, vaccination passport, and the results of the Covid test. They too were uninterested in the French Health Pass or Certificate of International Travel. However, they did declare my negative Covid test invalid since it was obtained 80 hours before arrival on their ship. They promptly tested me again and, thankfully, found me still negative!
Over the next 16 days I was tested daily for Covid with a saliva test each morning. Counting the test performed before departure and the one upon arrival, that makes 18 Covid tests in 20 days! All were negative. The experience of my co-travelers on the ship was similar. We were all tested daily, all fully vaccinated, and yet all required to wear masks in the presence of others, including excursions whether on buses or by foot, indoors or outdoors. To be sure, many of us were non-compliant at times when we thought we could get away with it!
Upon my return flight preparation, I was informed I would need a Netherlands Transit Form filled out since my flight plans passed through Amsterdam. I dutifully downloaded this form from the Netherlands’ website, then had to get help printing the form since the onboard computer had no printer. The form required my signature. When I got to the airport, the French counter agent wasn’t really interested in that form, but said they would check it in Amsterdam. But he informed me I would also need a similar form for reentry into the United States. As it turned out, no one in Amsterdam or the U.S. ever asked for these forms.
Those who have chosen to avoid vaccination for Covid are seeing their world shrink rapidly. It is currently impossible to fly internationally without proof of vaccination. It is also unlikely you will be able to take a cruise anytime in the near future. Failure to wear masks on airplanes is being treated as a federal offense, literally, and I wouldn’t be surprised if even domestic airlines insist on vaccination soon. In truth, airplanes represent one of the safest ways to travel, not only for their excellent safety records, but also because their air filtration systems rival the best operating room suites. Wearing masks on airplanes makes no sense at all, especially if you have been vaccinated.
All this lacks scientific credibility. It is more about control. The Covid pandemic has given those who seek control a golden opportunity to restrict our freedoms. This is mostly seen in local, state, and federal governments, in this country and world-wide. It is also being seen increasingly in private corporations, mostly out of concerns about diminishing profits and liability issues. But one has to wonder if these corporations are actually sacrificing profits in the name of virtue signaling, government cooperation, or heightened liability concerns. Our river cruise ship was only two-thirds full when the usual situation is packed cruises well in advance. Government officials may also suffer the consequences of these restrictions of our freedom in the next election.
Fear makes people compliant. We saw this dramatically after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. People were mostly willing to give up some privacy in the name of tracking down terrorists so the Bush administration easily justified the Patriot Act. Today we are seeing this in response to the Covid pandemic. Many fearful people willingly submit to even unscientific government policies such as wearing face masks even outdoors in vaccinated people!
Fear generally makes people do things, or accept things, they normally would not tolerate. We must all consider this in the coming days as wearing masks becomes an acceptable norm in society world-wide. But fear is not of God. The Bible offers comfort, whether you favor the Old Testament or the New Testament:
Isaiah 41:10 – “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
II Timothy 1:7 – “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and discipline.”