Coronavirus and Me

On February 14 I posted that I would not be posting for awhile due to going travelling again. I had only intended to be absent for 2 weeks, but life got in the way as it usually does; I was exposed to the Coronavirus. A 14-day self-isolation followed. During this time, I did not feel creative in any sense at all. I was aware of the growing hysteria in the world, mostly stoked by irresponsible sections of the media. I had daily contact with NHS England by telephone, SMS messaging, and email. It was very clear to begin with that no one really knew what to do. The advice changed daily, but that is not a criticism. I much prefer for people to learn from experience than to stick in an intransigent fashion to preconceived and uninformed dogma.

I tested negative for Covid-19. During my quarantine period I developed no symptoms whatsoever. During my 14 days of isolation I avoided the media like the plague, pun intended. Now that I am on the other side, I view the panic that now seems endemic the world over with dismay, but not with disbelief. I included a quote in my novel, Eugneica, that seems entirely appropriate to the situation, and here it is:

‘The collective stupidity even of the most intelligent and civilised societies is stupendous’. F. C. S Schiller.

Coronavirus is not a killer on the scale of either the Black Death or Spanish Flu. The majority of people who contract the virus will experience either mild or no symptoms at all. Some people will experience flu-like symptoms and for anyone with an underlying health condition this could prove dangerous. These are the world-wide figures for the Coronavirus at the time of publication:

Coronavirus 01

This is the link to the page: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

The current world population is some 7,772,102,800 people. My maths is not very good but even I can see that 10,049 deaths world wide is, in comparison to the population, significant only to those immediately affected by the passing of a loved one. To put it into perspective the daily death rate in the world population is over 52,000 people. Seasonal flu has killed over 105,000, HIV/AIDS 365,316, cancer 1,784,775, smoking 1,086,359, and alcohol 543,524.

The main characteristic of Coronavirus appears to be how contagious it is. Compared to other diseases it spreads very quickly, and this seems to be what everyone is focussing on. This is the reason why cities and countries are going into lock-down, not because Coronavirus is such a great killer, just that it spreads very quickly. The economic damage this panic reaction will cause is going to be in the billions of whichever currency you prefer. Already, here in Britain, people are expressing concern over losing their businesses, their livelihoods, and then everything else that is attached to their ability to earn a wage, like their homes. It is more fuel to the fire of panic.

While I was quarantined, I questioned if this was the best way of dealing with this disease? It occurred to me that a much more effective method would be to target resources at those in the vulnerable groups. Given that 80% of people who do contract Coronavirus will experience only mild or no symptoms at all why not let them get on with their daily lives? Businesses do not have to close, loans do not have to be defaulted, homes do not have to be repossessed, super-rich people like Richard Branson do not have to ask their employees to help them out by taking a few months off work without pay. The economy, so loved by politicians, does not have to be damaged. Instead, institutions like the NHS can dedicate their time and resources to helping those most at risk, with the help of the family and friends of those individuals who find themselves in that particular group. During my quarantine I discovered that there were plenty of people willing to get me anything that I needed, and I would happily do the same in return. I know that the argument for the lock-down approach is to contain the virus, but I do not believe that this is possible. It is known that many people have been infected with Coronavirus but because they did not develop any symptoms they were never tested. These people did pass the virus onto others, however.

Here is a link to a science paper that discusses this very subject:

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/03/13/science.abb3221.full

So how do you contain a virus that can pass unnoticed not only amongst a human population but an also an animal one too? I do not believe that you can. Billions of British pounds have already been committed to this end, but it seems like a lost cause. Schools, theatres, sports venues, large gatherings, businesses, travel, public services, all are being closed down or stopped. The negative impact on a country like Britain, that is supposedly still in austerity, will be disproportionate to the actual threat perceived in Coronavirus. The bill for social security benefits will soar as people made jobless and homeless turn to the government for the promised support. The rich, as usual, will not suffer any negative impact. Already, celebrities are appearing urging working people to stay at home. The fact is that the celebrities can afford to take a month or two off work, a working person does not have that luxury, especially if they are employed by someone like Virgin Atlantic!

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