I may be extrapolating out too much from the comments of a few and ascribing their bad reasoning to a larger group, though in diluted amount. Yet when I analyze that reasoning with an eye to replying to it, it does seem to exist in attenuated form in the choice of arguments of many.
I keep coming up against these ideas put forward that Covid is not as bad as the country is making out.
1. I don't know anyone who died from it.
2. The people I know who had it thought it was no worse than a cold, unless they were people who hadn't been taking care of themselves.
3. They used to say that a very low percentage of people were even getting the disease, though that has largely disappeared now that the numbers are up to about a quarter of the country.
4. Of those who get the disease, a ridiculously small percentage actually die.
5. The ones who die are mostly old or very sick anyway.
The statements contain a good deal of truth. They tend to neglect larger context - a single person's experience is not likely to be representative of the whole in a country of 340M; the percentage who died may be low compared to the Black Death, but the baseline was zero. Before covid, zero people were dying of covid, rather obviously. These are all new deaths. A million of 'em.
And this is where #5 comes in. Without even getting into long covid or people talking themselves into the idea that it is the vaccines or 5G or the regular flu that are really killing people, we get into real difficulties here. Some people are quite open in speculating that these are folks that were just about dead anyway, so this just pushed them off a little quicker. Except that those "almost dead" people have been replaced by a group of new "almost deads" from covid, who now have increased heart problems, breathing problems, etc. Covid did not skim the top off a static situation that now rebounds to the old death totals we would have had anyway.
How much damage a case of covid does to an individual varies, especially in the short run, but lets make up a measurement that it makes you 1-50% more dead each in the short run, and 1-10% more dead each in the long run. I duly note that the lower percentages are much more common. Many people can't afford to get 50% more dead, and they get completely dead. A few poor souls can't even afford to get 1% more dead, and even some of them die.
The reasoning on #5, though echoed in the other points, is that "Covid mostly killed people who were 99% dead anyway and couldn't take that one last kick." Or 90% dead or whatever. A high number. But for the rest of us, that thinking goes, getting 1% more dead is temporary anyway and therefore no big deal. We can afford it.
Well it certainly seems that way when you're 20, when you also lift things unsafely play sports you aren't in shape for, leading to old guys with bad backs who wish they hadn't tried to be heroes for pointless reasons when younger. You think you can afford lots of injury. Some injuries you can. Others will follow you until you die.
The risks that young people are looking at seem to be either-or at first glance. You either had that car accident or you didn't. If you didn't, you aren't any more dead. You either got shot or you didn't. If you didn't, you aren't any more dead than you were yesterday. You can get in an accident or be shot and survive, and then you might be a little more dead forever. The risk of substance misuse is similar, that you can eventually die prematurely because of a few overdoses cumulatively. some among the young are notorious for not thinking that through clearly. I lived through it. No problem.
My thought is a lot of even older people lose this thinking slowly. They are quite confident that the disease will not come for them, because they can afford to be 1% or even 10% more dead for a while, because then it will just be gone. But even when you develop an immunity - and with some illnesses one does - you paid a cost when you got the disease. We focus on the sigh of relief that we can't get chicken pox or measles anymore,neglecting that the disease did damage us some, just at a time when we thought our days and our health were unlimited.