At the beginning of the pandemic, I was unable to predict how utterly incompetent most Western governments were going to be to handle the situation at all levels (barring some honourable exceptions) and I have had to update more than once my model of how inefficient the political structures are to handle crises like this one. Have I updated enough my model? I am not sure. I am barely surprised with any new intervention they announce, mostly because in my (updated) model of the world, we live in a deeply inadequate system where the people in charge are not really trying to minimize the damage of COVID.
Imagine an alternative universe where the virus affects mainly children, i.e. the younger someone is, the higher the risk. About 10% of newborns getting COVID will die. It still might affect adults but it is way less likely. Old people are mostly asymptomatic. My question is, how different would have been a world like this? Would have we seen the same amount of controversy around the vaccines, mask mandates, etc? There is a part of me that believes that politicians would have taken way harsher measures to nip it in the bud, that the bureaucracy would have been forced to evolve faster than the virus and that we would have not seen the same polarization we have seen regarding lockdowns or any other intervention. I would dare to say that the pandemic could be over by now. However, at the same time, I am thinking that I might not have updated enough my model of the world and the system we live in is so absolutely disastrous that not even a situation like this would have forced society into a better Nash equilibrium.