The vaccine was a resounding success. Yes, there had been a final death rate of 10% among the vaccinated, but this was mostly among the elderly or already ill, so it was probably not the vaccine’s fault, and if it was, no one could prove it in one way or another, and even if they could, yes, the vaccine manufacturers were not responsible for lawsuits because of the agreements they had made with the various governments.
In any case, the pandemic was over, that was for sure.
Of course, the masks and lockdown mandates continued to be enforced; The reason was that while the pandemic had certainly been defeated, the virus still existed in its natural form somewhere out there, and it was therefore important to continue with the safety procedures to avoid any possible resurgence of the disease.
So what? People got used to it as they had gotten used to so many other things before it. And was wearing a mask in the end much worse than wearing a helmet or seat belt? Was being forced to stay home a few months each year very different from being forced to be in the office and work for five days out of the seven a week? Rules are rules and they were not as bad as others that had been introduced earlier.
But there was something that worried the authorities. While most people had predictably adhered to the mandatory vaccination campaign, there were a few groups who had denied them for religious or health reasons and found refuge in rural areas living off the grid. They had abandoned the use of mobile and network technology and therefore could not be traced so easily, and when non-digital cash had been abolished, they pretended to have returned to a form of trade based on the exchange of physical goods.
At first, the authorities ignored them; most people saw them as a minority of taberhicks, “anti-waxxers”, as they had been called in earlier pre-scientific times, and since it was unlikely that too many among the masses would choose such a harsh lifestyle away from the comforts of modernity city life they were not seen as a threat.
But what ultimately amplified was that rumors began to bulge, even in the cities, about small communities where no one needed to wear masks, and people danced and smiled, and the food was delicious and natural, and people were even – gasp ! infatuation and reproduction in natural ways.