Over the last week or so I’ve thought of several posts I want to write about the coronapanic. But then, on one of my frequent visits to the wonderful worldometers.com to check the current figures and how various countries are faring, I spotted their other statistics. Such as the fact that, as I’m writing this, there have been 350,000 births today. That, encouragingly 40 million bicycles have been made this year but only 20 million cars. That depressingly, there are 850 million undernourished people in the world, and 750 million obese ones.
And finally, that 6 million blog posts have been written today. Given that my posts get at best about 100 readers, and that – much though those readers are very nice people and I’m grateful they read my witterings – none of them are influential on a world stage, I think it means I’m wasting my time trying to put together any coherent statement about why I think this crisis has been handled wrong, and where I fear we’re ultimately heading with all of this. If you’re a student of history you can probably predict the latter for yourself. If you’re remotely competent at being objective and reading statistics, I’m sure you can see many flaws with the former.
So I may write more about the panic. I may continue to blog about other things. Or I may not. I’ve been trying, once again, to meditate regularly, and one of the things that came out of a slightly calmer mind was the realisation that I’m stressed by the many many tasks on my mental ‘To Do’ list. And writing blog posts is one of these. So I hereby give myself permission to just not.
I also give myself permission to just not Facebook either, as it’s currently like having a Daily Mail reader shouting in my face every time I open the site. (Exceptions will be made for a) UP Radio, b) things like the translator chat group and the online translator’s pub quiz, and c) PetitBambou’s online meditation sessions.) I’m not currently sure if Twitter will have to go the same way, because my feed is much less toxic, consisting of a mixture of writing Twitter and No Man’s Sky players. Games are helping me enormously at the moment. Though it’s a strange feeling cycling round the deserted Normandy countryside for shopping then coming home and cycling around the deserted Navezgane countryside to loot the ruined houses inhabited by zombies in 7 Days to Die. As soon as they make masks compulsory IRL I’ll even have a similar outfit in both worlds.
Anyway, you know the drill. I shan’t say “Stay safe”, because the phrase makes me want to vomit. But stay sane, if you can. And if not, I hope your madness is a pleasant one.
In case you’re wondering, the stuff I could have written about:
Why the French government chose to lock down the entire country, despite numbers of infected being almost zero in vast parts of France, when everything else runs as though each département is a self-governing country. Even totalitarian China only locked down the infected bits. But somehow Europe has to close entire countries.
Whether, if masks were the way to control the virus from the start, this means lockdowns were pointless (and, as I’ve pointed out before, far more damaging to society as a whole).
Whether, if lockdowns were the right way to go, we shouldn’t therefore actually lock down – rather than all still pottering about going to the shops and forcing everyone in the logistics chain to continue exposing themselves to infection.
What the point of all of this is, given that a) it could take months if not years before we get a vaccine that’s even partially successful, b) we all have to die one day and c) the number of people who’ve died from the virus is still a drop in the ocean compared to, for example, the number who’ve already died from smoking this year, which we could stop instantly if we banned all cigarette manufacture (but we can’t because the companies who make them pay our governments vast sums to be able to keep killing us).
Why there’s such hysterical criticism of Sweden for not locking down. Personally, I think this comes down to superstition. “If we all stick to the rules, we’ll be all right, and because Sweden isn’t doing that, we’re all in danger.”
Why, on the same subject, people are saying that Sweden’s approach is a failure because they have 1.5 times more cases than Norway, which, as well as having half the population of Sweden, is the richest country in the world (excluding the tiny places like Monaco), and therefore tolerably well supplied in terms of healthcare facilities.
Why top medical officials are apparently unable to distinguish between the total number of dead – which is inevitably going to increase every day – the number of cases, which reflects the spread of the virus, and the death rate, which reflects how good or bad any country’s healthcare system is.
How long it’s going to be before the UK’s mass hysteria about applauding the NHS becomes compulsory, with neighbours grassing each other up if they don’t participate, despite the fact that, demonstrably, 43.6% of the population didn’t give a toss about the NHS at the last election, just four months ago.
Whether everyone else’s weather has mysteriously got considerably sunnier and warmer since we’ve all stopped flying everywhere. And, slightly more worryingly given that we’re coming into summer in the northern hemisphere, whether air travel was simultaneously contributing massively to global warming but also protecting us against the worst effects of the heat.
What happens next. I mean, not just how long does this continue, but where do we go as a society? I read tweets and articles saying “everything will be different”, but I’m pretty sure that after this most people will be only too happy to just go back to commuting and consuming like they were before. And I very much fear that governments will take this as an opportunity to crack down on civil disobedience. “You can go back to work, but you can’t go to the beach. We, your betters, can fly around the world for business meetings, and you can travel squeezed in together on public transport, but you get no pubs, no restaurants, and certainly no more Fridays for Future protests.”
Or is that just me being cynical again?