In the season’s premier of his HBO show “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher continued to talk a lot about Covid-19. That’s even though he claimed in his monologue that the Covid-19 pandemic has “just gone on too long, no one cares anymore.” Maher used words such as “masked paranoid world”, “bananas”, and “have no friends” when describing people who are following recommended Covid-19 precautions. Yes, he said all of this in the middle of a Winter surge of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
You can hear some of these comments in the video clip accompanying this tweet from Maher:
As you can see, Maher said the following about Covid-19: “If you are one of those people who didn’t get it at all, you must be very diligent, very careful, and you have no friends.” After all, why should your friends care about your health, right?
Maher went on to to complain, “it’s ridiculous. You don’t want to live in your paranoid world anymore, your masked paranoid world.” Was he referring to the “paranoid world” where the U.S. had 3,866 reported Covid-19-related deaths on January 21 alone and has been averaging over 2,100 Covid-19-related deaths a day for the past seven days, according to data assembled by the New York Times? Or was he referring to the world where potentially a quarter to a half of those who have had Covid-19 will continue to experience long Covid symptoms, as researchers at Penn State have found?
“You know, you go out,” Maher lamented. “It’s silly now. You mask, you have to have a card, you have to have a booster.” How terrible is that? Asking people to wear a face mask and carry around a card, when you normally don’t have to carry around any kind of card. Except, of course, for your driver’s license. OK, how silly it is to ask you to carry around two cards: your vaccination card, your driver’s license, and your credit card. All right, three cards, how silly it is to have to carry around your vaccination card, your driver’s license, your credit card, and your store rewards card. OK, four cards, amongst the cards that you have to carry are your vaccination card, your driver’s license, your credit card, your store rewards card, and your Justice League membership card. Darn.
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Maher then continued with, “They scan your head like you’re a cashier and I’m a bunch of bananas. I’m not bananas. You are.” Presumably Maher was referring to temperature checks and not anything involving a bar code on your forehead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not recommend getting a bar code on your forehead. If you do indeed have a bar code on your forehead, you may want to ask your smartphone, “hey Siri, have I joined a cult?”
If wearing a face mask, carrying around another card, and getting your temperature periodically checked are the worst, most inconvenient things that you have to do on a given day, then your life is pretty darn good. That’s assuming that the temperature checks are not by rectal thermometer. It’s certainly better than death, being hospitalized, or suffering from long Covid.
And how onerous is it really to maintain precautions over the course of about two years? In the grand scheme of things, two years is not a really long time for an emergency requiring precautions. Sure it is longer than a Instagram video and the movie Logistics, which had a total runtime of 35 days and 17 hours. However, today’s attention-span-limited society could have a twisted perception of time. The 1918 flu pandemic persisted for about two years. World War II lasted six years and a day. The Vietnam War extended from 1954 to 1975. Many of the travel precautions from the 9/11 tragedy continue to this day. Speaking of disasters, some celebrity marriages that were clearly awful matches from the start have lasted for longer than two years.
The Covid-19 pandemic and precautions are not going to last forever. Back in 2020, many experts predicted a 2020-to-2022-or-so course for the pandemic. So if you understand science, how pandemics work, and how long it takes for everyone’s immune systems to get used to a novel virus, it’s not at all surprising that our society is still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather than complaining about why society is not back to normal like a person longing for a previous relationship that may have not been so good, wouldn’t it be better to adapt and take the needed time to deal with the problem at hand. In the words of Guns N’ Roses, all we need is just a little patience.
This certainly wasn’t the first time that “Real Time with Bill Maher” didn’t quite include real science about Covid-19. As I’ve covered previously for Forbes, Maher has claimed that during the pandemic, “the medical establishment, the media, and the government to take a scared straight approach, to getting the public to comply with their recommendations.” He’s repeatedly criticized medical experts yet has rarely given any real Covid-19 experts much real time on his show. Maher has also touted the use of ivermectin against Covid-19 despite the lack of real scientific evidence to support such use. And during an interview for Deadline, Dominic Patten asked Maher, “Listening to you, it sounds like you really don’t think Dr. Anthony Fauci or the medical establishment really know what they are doing, that this is more whack-a-mole?” To that Maher, who is neither a scientist nor a medical doctor, responded, “They don’t know a lot about anything.” Later on in the interview, Maher asserted that, “And what the [expletive] is the use of a booster shot? Because I will never get a booster shot.”
Maher sure has a funny way of showing that no cares about Covid-19 anymore. And in this case, funny doesn’t mean “knock-knock joke” or “a ferret, an accountant, and a Kardashian walk into a bar” funny. If he truly believes that no one cares about Covid-19 anymore, why not just stop talking about it? And leave the real Covid-19 discussions to real medical and public health experts who really understand what’s happening with Covid-19 in real time?