The arrival of Covid-19 has greatly disrupted the world and daily life in a very short period of time.
- The Great Spanish Fu epidemic of 1917 is estimated to have killed 50 million+ with a mortality rate between 2.5 – 10% (Wikipedia)
- The SARS outbreak of 2003 killed 774 people spread to 26 countries with a mortality rate of 10.5% (The Week)
- Flu tends to prove disproportionately fatal for the young and the old
- Between 20015-10018 UK flu fatalities averaged (mean) 21.2k/year (gov.uk)
- In Hubei province circa 50 million people were under lockdown, 3.2k have died, mortality rate 1.4-4.2% as of 18th March no new cases have been reported for 3 days (NY times & Wikipedia)
- In 2018 approx 28k were killed or seriously injured on UK roads (gov.uk)
- There have been 144 confirmed deaths in the UK due to Covid-19, many associated with underlying conditions (Guardian)
Fatality rates by age – WHO data from China Feb 2020
Covid-19 has provoked much fear in the collective psyche and filled the news. Anyone else missing Brexit?
Radical measures have been taken to delay the spread of the pandemic, measures which ordinarily would be seen as draconian and compromising civil liberties. Recent UK legislation permits authorities to reduce levels of care in residential homes, close ports, order schools open and detain citizens against their will. Is fear driving judgement and threatening our values?
Notwithstanding paranoid conspiracy theories, the public is of course being “managed” and other agendas are at play. BoJo’s recent statement:
“More families, many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.”
grabbed the public’s imagination just as a magician banging his metal dividers distracts from the geometry of the contraption.
When the Sars virus, which Covid-19 is related to, struck in 2002/3 I don’t recall such a panic. OK, only 774 people died globally compared to the 8000 deaths recorded to date. But will we ever know what’s going on? But as a global experiment in mass control and behavioural change, it surely interesting.
I was made to feel a heel when the woman on the checkout at Tesco observed it was all right for some people to stock up, but it wasn’t an option for her. I hope that along with the grief, anxiety, enforced isolation, and hype, we might also discover somethings about ourselves. There’ll be time as the economy contracts, unemployment soars and confinement increases.
I hope the temple of mammon with it’s altar stacked with fast moving consumer goods might become less important as we realise loo paper isn’t that good at sustaining life and St Peter’s not so concerned about hygiene done there.
I’m not so worried. I have no elderly relatives and would be unlucky to succumb, but whether the fledgling business survives is another matter. The situation was brought home to me when the yoga class was cancelled. A trivial and selfish concern perhaps, but much more meaningful than seeing masked Asian students wander around campus. We all have the choice to attend to what we choose.
This pandemic is defining and precipitates questions of who we are and what stories we wish to hand down to the future. I prefer to live (somewhat responsibly), rather than fret indoors over the news and a depleting stock of alcohol wipes.
Maybe that’s selfish, maybe Shakespeare had something when he wrote,
“Cowards die many times before their deaths”.