The Covid-19 response and propaganda certainly turned on the fear mechanism, and it in weird way, it also gave many people a twisted sort of meaning and reason to live. From Michael Brendan Dougherty at nationalreview.com:
It’s time for a mass deprogramming.
You probably know someone who never got COVID but whose whole life was transformed by the pandemic; it now has a meaning. They were the most cautious, the most locked down, the most disgusted by “deniers” in the White House or in their extended family. They didn’t see their adult parents for over a year. They refused in-person-learning options for their kids. The pandemic warped their relationship to their neighbors, whom they now treated as vectors of disease, and even as moral cretins because they did yard work without a mask. They posted their second “Fauci ouchie” on Instagram a month ago. But they are still double-masking or even putting goggles on their children, even infants, because they read something about COVID spreading through their eyes.
It’s as if a circuit has been fused. While caution and restrictive behavior can be justified by a conscience informed by the risks, the human mind can also make calculations based on superstition. And one frighteningly common one is the equation of science with truth, fear with realism, and caution with virtue.