Opinion | What Happens After the Worst of the Pandemic Is Behind Us? - The New York Times
par Zeynep Tufekci
But despite having one of the earliest and most abundant supplies of vaccines, the United States has a vaccination rate that isn’t in the top 50 in the world — lower than many, many other countries that started much later.
Some of the reasons for our relatively low vaccination coverage trace back to the dysfunctions of our medical system. The United States is the only developed nation without universal health coverage, and our medical system continues to disproportionately fail people from minority backgrounds; such shortcomings don’t help develop the necessary trust.
But there is another dynamic. Many Republican politicians and pundits have chosen to pump hostility to vaccines and public health institutions as a platform for their supporters to rally around. Some of their claims are outright false or wildly misleading, but as with such demagogy historically, sometimes they capitalize on existing failures.
All this finds a ready home on online platforms designed to optimize for how much time and effort we spend on them. Even before the pandemic, doctors were begging tech platforms like Facebook and YouTube to take action about the rampant vaccine misinformation on their sites that not only existed but thrived. Leaked internal documents show that Facebook’s own researchers were worried about how rampant vaccine misinformation was on the platform during the pandemic. The public has even less insight into YouTube, but it only recently pledged to ban all vaccine misinformation on its platform — a step taken almost two years into the pandemic. This information environment fuels tribalization and demagogy the way warm water intensifies a hurricane. This, in turn, further degrades the capacity for mending our dysfunctional governance.