There is no significant risk of lasting negative health consequences after infection
That's simply false. In fact, there is an abundance of evidence of it.
You're... citing someone with a PhD in nutritional science primarily interpreting a study with n=76, and trying to deduce from that a 96% decrease in fatality risk. That's not how those statistics work. You simply can't get that level of information from the studies cited.
Other than wearing masks (which hardly is a burden), I don't really see people sacrificing too much to help prevent others outside their family and friends from getting COVID. There are obviously exceptions to this, such as the entire medical community, but I don't think that there was truly a huge personal sacrifice to prevent others from getting COVID versus preventing others from dying of smoking. What sacrifice there was can, I think, be explained up by the same reason that charities like the Against Malaria Foundation that operate primarily in Africa can be much more effective than charities that operate in the US - out of sight, out of mind.
Sweden precisely shows why your question is misguided. They had significantly fewer governmental restrictions, but their economy did the same or worse over the last year than the other Scandinavian countries. My interpretation is that average people care a lot about their personal pandemic risk and are willing to do all these measures regardless of the laws, while the laws help stop the super-spreader marginal cases.
Because of this, the governmental restrictions have approximately zero economic cost while have a significant health benefit. The governmental expenditures have not truly been COVID-relief. Rather, they have been depression-relief, where the depression is caused by people's desire to avoid COVID.
For a specific example, everyone at my company is allowed to work at the office, both by the government and by the company. Despite that, not a single person does. Similarly, my area currently allows people to eat inside restaurants, but almost no one does.
This was a very good explanation of why to use a gears level explanation instead of an atom level. But it lacks the other direction - how do you determine if something is a gear instead of a gearbox? Regarding the image at the top of the post, how do you decide whether to describe using the blue boxes or using the gears?
For a more recent example than trans-Atlantic ocean liners, when The Beatles arrived in the US by plane in 1964 they were greeted by a crowd of 3000 fans. That doesn't seem likely to happen today (and not just because of airport security).
A similar question regarding rising costs in the US is around the cost of public transportation, especially building subway tunnels, where costs can vary by a factor of ten, with the US's cost being about the highest globally. The blog Pedestrian Observations has talked a lot about it, for instance in this blog post. Per it, the ultimate cause is that the US is unwilling to learn from other countries because it still perceives itself as being top in the world at public transit while much of Europe and East Asia is surpassing it.
When I've previously considered human extinction caused by nuclear wars, I've known that the immediate blasts wouldn't kill everyone. However, what are the effects of a lower overall population with fewer habitable areas and less access to resources? That's doubly true since the areas that will have more people survive will almost definitionally be developing countries that are now suddenly cutoff from imports. I believe that humans as a species would likely survive, but I also suspect that it would be the end of modern civilization. Adding to that, I've seen hypotheses before that the remaining resources left underground but easily accessibly by non-modern technology would not be enough to "reboot" civilization, especially fossil fuels. Overall, despite the very likely non-extinction of the human species, it would much more likely be an extinction of the human race as a space-faring species.
Could you expand on "you don't need to hugely stretch general relativity for closed timelike curves to become possible"? After all, the only thing keeping everyone from flying off of the planet is a minus sign in different equations relating to gravity, but we don't worry about that as a risk. Are the changes to general relativity similar to that, or more like "relativity allows it but it has some huge barrier that we can't currently surpass"?
I can easily imagine a world where the railways switched from local solar time to universal time, without developing timezones. Afterall, the problem with local solar time is that it changes between cities, and that's true with timezones as well, it's just less frequent (and with even hour or half-hour multiples). If anything, universal time would be easier. Universal time doesn't work for non-railroads very well though, so I can totally imagine local solar time sticking around without having to seriously change anything about the world.
I was merely noting that 538, the makers of the prediction model that the post is discussing, believes in the voter suppression. If you think they're wrong about the voter suppression, then you probably also shouldn't believe in their prediction model. On the other hand, if you think they're right about the prediction model, then why are you doubting their voter suppression research?
Of course, it's perfectly consistent to think that they are wrong about both the model and the voter suppression, but the post was assuming that you believed in the prediction model.