Monday, 16 March 2020
Most of all, you've let yourselves down
I don’t know what the latest death toll is; it is certainly far fewer than deaths from other, better know, viral illnesses and certainly far fewer than Piers Morgan is determined it must be. But one thing I am certain about is that I couldn’t be less concerned about it. You can’t see it, you can’t detect it in others unless they are symptomatic, but they are infectious before that and no amount of handwashing is going to save you once it gets into your workplace, home, school, etc. You’re likely to get it; accept that.
But not all winds blow ill and if nothing else comes of it, I hope – beyond any realistic expectation of realisation – that people learn a little something about this species about which we are so precious. It turns out, for all the glorious history of endeavour, all the science, art and great thought, we are just base animals at heart, acting on instinct and motivated by fear. The great manipulators have always known this; the new pretenders think they are learning it from scratch, but all of us can see it in the end.
If you needed any concrete evidence, it must surely be the toilet roll debacle. Not water, not food, not even medicines, but the humble bog roll has become totemic of both our preparation for a siege and our inability to think beyond tomorrow. At first it was just funny, watching the idiots on the rampage, but this weekend it became sinister with scenes of people waiting outside large supermarkets with empty trolleys; standing in line just to see the empty shelves at first hand. (Incidentally, such gatherings would be, one would think, ideal situations for the virus to spread.)
Literally nobody knows what the eventual number of affected will be, nor the mortality rate, but suddenly everybody is an expert. The BBC led with a story that 229 ‘scientists’ had signed a letter demanding the government do more. It later transpired that not one of these experts had any knowledge or understanding of the disease, nor any grasp of the strategy being followed. In short they brought nothing to the debate except opposition. When we then learned that a large number of signatories were from an institution which describes itself as being situated in ‘vibrant’ East London, the penny dropped.
It is morbid, obscene, the way some wish to hype up the danger in a form of macabre thrill-seeking. It is ugly and venal and unbecoming. Instead of listening to the actual government advice and taking heed, many (and you know they are remainers, climate nuts and social justice warriors, who have a demonstrable dearth of critical thinking skills) are accepting at face value the crap spouted by Corbyn, Morgan and others who are deliberately misrepresenting the events and measures being taken.
At times of national crisis – climate isn’t one, Covid-19 looks like it will be – the reasonable person acts in his own self-interest, takes steps to defend his family and looks out for others who may not be able to do so. Communities should be sensibly coming together, not waging wars of words and putting in place their own support networks, not expecting the government to anticipate their every need. As much as you might wish it, there will not be millions dead in the UK; I doubt we’ll hit millions worldwide. But, just in case, I have plenty of bog rolls…