The metaphor of war has long been a part of public health. In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s public health agencies mobilized and shut down entire parts of society under the utilitarian goal of stopping the spread of COVID-19.
In America, entire states were locked-down, public schools were dismissed, government public services halted and businesses closed while grim pictures of death were painted, pictures of sick and dying on ventilators were broadcast and vivid dialogue of apparently overwhelmed hospital capacity were plastered on mainstream media. Journals and media outlets played along, streaming out content about the dangers of COVID-19 and the need for continued lock-down. Dissenting views on social media were censored by social media tech companies.
A further examination of the public health response to COVID-19 reveals a deeper problem: the metaphor of war and the assumption of vaccine fundamentalism has long been part of the public health mindset.