How The Pandemic Is Making Us Turn On Each Other

It’s not our fault, but it feels that way
5 min readJan 27, 2021


Bitch, no

You know the feeling. Standing in the supermarket, thinking “just pull the mask over your fucking nose.” Talking to your parents, wondering why you’re the parent. Scrolling Instagram, feeling not FOMO but NO! NO!

They call it pandemic fatigue, but it feels like something else. Feels like pandemic rage.

Pandemic rage is real, it’s just misdirected. On one hand people are idiots, but on the other hand people have always been idiots. This is literally why we have governments. They had one job and they fucked it up. Governance failures have left us depending on great-aunt Sudarshini’s masking skills and horny teenagers’ restraint for everyone’s health. Of course we’re fucked. And we can’t blame them.

As mad as we get at people, personal responsibility is wholly inadequate for fighting a pandemic. It’s like directing traffic based on good feelings. Everyone says just wear a mask but it just doesn’t work. No country beat COVID by just masking. The most important thing is testing, testing, testing — as Dr. Tedros told us early — coupled with robust tracing and away-from-home quarantine, as in Vietnam. Are you a PCR machine, do you have police powers? This is literally beyond our ken. You should not be stopping COVID two millimeters from your face. Your government should have stopped it from getting anywhere near.

Across the world we have witnessed catastrophic failures of governance, which we only experience through the dumbasses in front of us. But it’s not their fault. If your pandemic plan depends on horny teenagers not seeing each other, then it’s not a very good plan. This is like blaming another driver when all the traffic lights are out and someone posted a textbook instead of a stop sign. This is a governmental responsibility. By the time it hits your randy cousins it’s already too late.

We can see where governments succeed — Vietnam, China, Taiwan, New Zealand — and they didn’t do it they’re better people. They were simply governed better. Their governments took quick, decisive action and now they’re back to licking each other’s faces, protected by robust national testing, tracing, and quarantine. Can you do any of these things on your own? Can…



Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at