I was about to write about the reaction to the Covid-19 situation, and then I read this:
The weirdest part of living through the # pandemic is this strange mixture of normalcy and emergency that we’re all experiencing. I constantly feel like I’m either over- or underreacting, or really both at the exact same time. It’s surreal. The level of uncertainty is such that, depending on what happens tonight, tomorrow, next week, all of our actions, both individually and collectively, might soon look foolish. This makes the whole situation extremely hard to process, intellectually and emotionally.
Which I think sums it up quite nicely. As individuals, communities and as a society, we literally don’t know what is coming next, be it this time next month, next week or even tomorrow. You suddenly realise that all your subconscious decision-making processes rely on a mixture of prior knowledge and predicting the likely situation in the near future. We don’t have either of those things right now and suddenly, the rug has been pulled from beneath our collective feet.
I was chatting to the kids about the situation this morning, and I pointed out that while my wife and I are doing our best to make the correct choices and do the right thing, we have also never experienced this before. It’s unprecedented, unsettling and downright weird. It’s omnipresent – the constant elephant in the room – and while you want or need) to know the latest news so that you can make informed choices, equally, you’d really rather not hear anything more on it, at all.
As I’m sure I have said before, a measured, sensible approach seems to be the safest course to take at the moment. (I’m talking about us as individuals in South Africa, not commenting here on guided government policies – although of course I have my feelings on those as well.) There are those who are so blasé about the whole thing that they will actually present a genuine risk to others when they are infected (and at some point in the future, all of us will be infected by this virus). And then at the opposite end of the scale, we have those who are unnecessarily limiting what little scrap of normality we have left before everything changes.
Attempting to delay the inevitable might not be seen as a bad idea, but ignoring the inevitable really is. Much as Canute failed to stop the tide on the beach at [citation required], their actions are equally futile. Key here is the need to behave responsibly once you think or are sure that you have the infection. You’ll live (although it might not feel that way for a few days), but not passing it on to vulnerable groups is hugely important. This is where Blasé Brad’s approach becomes so hazardous: Brad will continue to klapp gym boet and go about his normal business, not letting the illness get the better of him, and shedding virus everywhere he goes.
There is a ray of hope. The first steps towards a viable vaccine have been taken, and there’s a real opportunity for companies to work together to produce decent numbers of vaccines to protect those who are most at risk of complications from infection. I’m surprised that this hasn’t got more press, but then good news never sells papers.
Stay safe. Wash your hands. Be sensible.