id: title: Don’t Destroy the UK (Gaurdian Comment) author: pinkie123 date: 2020-04-11 11:56 layout: post categories: tags:
This article was originally a comment on a Guardian article regarding the current state of the UK during the COVID-19 Crisis.
I have placed it here because it is a valuable statement itself, and will be lost as a comment.
For the past week I’ve been trying to get three things straight in my head: the true purpose of the lockdown, what the majority of the public imagine, or have been led to believe by the government and media to be the purpose of the lockdown, and whether the two align.
Conclusion: this is the mother of all comms disasters for which there will one day be the mother of all enquiries.
As far as I can gather, the true purpose of the lockdown is to delay and flatten the Coronavirus spread. This ensures the NHS is not overwhelmed, allowing it time to prepare to manage the impact – hence the Nightingale Hospitals being built all over the country – and protect its staff. By social distancing, the public is engaged in a collective effort to ensure the NHS has the capacity to treat everyone. Absolutely 100% fine with this bit.
However, many clearly believe the purpose of the lockdown is also to reduce the overall rate of infection, give themselves ongoing 100% protection from infection, or even eradicate the disease entirely. None are possible. A government decree cannot eradicate a virus. The overall rate of infection can only be spread out, not reduced. Once the lockdown is lifted (which it will have to be at some point in the near future), we will all be once again susceptible to infection.
Media panic in symbiosis with ceaseless rhetoric of ‘beating’, ‘defeating’ and ‘overcoming’ the virus, has entrenched the false hope that this pandemic will come to a clean end. Only a vaccine could guarantee sudden mass immunity. However, a vaccine is not a cast iron certainty. Scientists have been working on vaccines for other Coronaviruses unsuccessfully for years now. And even if there were a vaccine, the virus may mutate, becoming an endemic, seasonal illness.
Dark, dangerous perceptions have been allowed or even encouraged to germinate during the hysteria. Yesterday, somebody made this comment on CIF: “Every person who defies the lockdown endangers others’. What does s/he mean by that? That the flouter would endanger others by increasing strain on NHS services during the lockdown period? Okay, I guess. Or do they mean that one should be held morally accountable for causing another person’s death by transmitting disease? Please reflect on what a seriously dangerous, DANGEROUS notion that is.
These people who fume in terror at sunbathers, recoil in fear if you step with two metres of them in the supermarket, monitor the comings and goings and neighbours from windows – are they supposed to suddenly readjust to coexisting with others in close proximity when the lockdown ends? How will they cope? Have they been led to believe that the lockdown will only end when the disease has been eradicated? If so, they have been lied to – by politicians terrified of the power of tabloids and a callow liberal media.
During the Black Death, religious zealots known as Flagellants wandered Europe vigorously whipping themselves in public displays of penance. The current exultation in atonement and condemnation of sinners is a comparable display of magical thinking and moral hysterics.
If I was PM, this is what I would have said:
Ladies and gentlemen of the public. With the Coronavirus we face a collective threat. In my capacity as Prime Minister I will do all I can to ensure our NHS services are equipped to cope with those of us unfortunate enough to be seriously affected by this illness. For this reason, I am ordering a lockdown with immediate effect. How long the lockdown will last is impossible to say, but it is essential that our NHS is not overwhelmed, and the lives of its staff not put at risk. By flattening the curve of infection, this pandemic should become manageable enough for some measure of normal lfe to resume in due course.
It is, I think, my duty to be as honest with you as possible. I cannot pledge you that you or your family will be unaffected by this illness. The restrictions about to be imposed are temporary and cannot eradicate the virus, only delay its spread. A vaccine may one day become available, but, alas, I can offer no guarantee. As with all viruses, immunity across the population will increase as infection spreads. In this way, we can all be assured that the pandemic will one day draw to a close.
However, I would urge people not to panic and end on a note of hope. While potentially deadly, the vast majority of individuals make a full recovery from this illness – even those who are older and more vulnerable to complications. In many cases, symptoms are mild or even non-existent. Tragically, younger people are occasionally struck down, but such cases are highly rare.
Fear, I would remind you, is the enemy of reason. A sense of perspective is crucial. To get through this, we need to be vigilant but to be calm and look out for one another.
Any PM going to say something like that these days, with the Sun, Mail and millions of rabid death cult Facebookers breathing down their neck?