"New laws, programs, and political arrangements always create new constituencies with vested interests in prolonging and expanding their power," writes Nate J. Hochman.

‘Alot of what you’re seeing as attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science,” Anthony Fauci told NBC’s Chuck Todd in June. In November, he told CBS’s Margaret Brennan that when people criticize him, “they’re really criticizing science because I represent science.” It must just be a coincidence, then, that “science” always seems to change whenever Fauci’s prestigious position at the head of our Covid regime is at stake. The mousy public-health bureaucrat just keeps finding reasons to extend the crisis. In March, he told CNN’s Jake Tapper that pandemic restrictions could end once the country fell below 10,000 daily cases. In November, Fauci changed his tune again: Cases need to fall to as low as 3,300 a day to return to “a degree of normality,” he clarified.

Now with Omicron, the same games are being played. As the goalposts continue to shift in the “war on Covid,” the justifications for restrictions are becoming increasingly arbitrary. The “scientific” basis for pandemic mandates was always iffy — Fauci’s flip-flops on everything from masks to herd immunity do not inspire confidence — but in the face of vaccines, monoclonal antibody treatments, and the latest variant’s relatively benign effects, the pandemic security state has lost any of the veneer of legitimacy that it may have once presented.

So why does all this feel like it’s never going away?

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