The fact that we got a medical cure for the covid virus this soon after the Chinese let the world know its genetic makeup, is something of a testament to how far we’ve come to understanding disease. Having read about the past and how little they knew, and how they blamed random things or habits or actions, it shows how far we’ve come. Modern science truly is an amazing thing. 
And yet, our reaction to what was a straight forward virus that we knew how to control. Hell, read this article and see how, if you were going to go against the lockdowns, there was another possible reaction than “business as normal”.  Note how the article points to super spreader events being the main way the virus spreads (Japan never had a lockdown but managed it well). Of course, when you get to US levels of covid then all is lost.
But how did we get to such high levels of disconnect between the reality of the virus and people fears and denials about it?
Like Climate Change, we’ve come to realize that the technical knowledge is not the same as the political and human knowledge that exists out there . And, more than that, with a carnival barker in charge we know see how actual knowledge can be short circuited by animal fears. But why? And why only in Western Countries (well, Brazil and to some extent India also fucked up, the former way more than the latter)?
Education seems to be one explanation I hear a lot  but I don’t see that happening.
What I see is a sick society with sick people in power, holding on to power (like in CC and, apparently with Covid) and needing the economy to work a certain way. Combine that with our grifter-rewarding system, and how the best way to sell anything, and we’re nothing if not an overrated bazaar, is through fear and you see how we couldn’t have had any other reaction.
But fear could have sold a sane reaction to covid, you say. Well, there is where the sickness comes in. It really does work with structural powers as well as the myths that many here rely on. Much of this started with Reagan and his ilk, his playing to old racism and other tribal instincts, and you see how we’re paying the price today and will continue paying the price.
Take, for example, this case about how many nurses, college educated etc, are refusing the vaccine.