Social Media and Coronavirus

Posted on October 19, 2020

Who remembers the good old days back when we were in full lockdown? The days when those of us who like reading, thought that with a bit of effort, we would be able to understand what Covid19 was all about.

The timeline for all of us was different but for the people I know well, the days of being an epidemiologist ended around mid-summer. Oddly, Tony Blair sealed the deal for me (yes, the evil one who started the second Iraq war because he was a Tory, apparently).

Blair on the Radio

Blair was on some programme on Radio 4 or 5 (I can’t quite remember which) where he said that chairing a meeting with epidemiologists enlightened him. What he found stark was that at expert level (those ruddy experts again) the knowledge of coronavirus was still outweighed by ignorance. That’s why it is called novel coronavirus. It is new and novel.

That was good enough for me to end my career as a keyboard epidemiologist, mainly because I didn’t fancy making a tit of myself.

Of course, what we do know with a new virus, is that it is unlikely that anyone will have antibodies to fight it. That is why it races through the system at such speed; it has no resistance until there is a build up of antibodies through vaccines or natural immunity.

That’s as far as I am going with this because anything else is guess work. Yet all over Twitter and Facebook, amateur epidemiologists range from the type who say, “it’s just the flu’” to, “it’s going to mutate into something far deadlier!”.  

Facebook Remark

Today, I made an off the mark quip about public bar ‘know it all’ types (see below). In my opinion it was moderately funny (not that I want to be accused of laughing at my own jokes). These comments normally trigger a flurry of 10-20 likes (a thumbs up symbol). They are generally enough to feed my need to feel vindicated for the comment.

However, today, I must have made a comment at an optimum moment. By the time I went for a narcissism thrill, my comment had passed 100 (and counting fast) likes, laughs and dislike emojis; the comments section was also gathering pace. It was at this point when I realised that, despite often wondering how thrilling it would be to be famous, I would probably hate it.

That’s because I am paranoid of nutjobs. There is good reason for this. About 5 years ago, someone sent me a message saying, “I know where you live, bang, bang, you’re dead”. This was in response to me commenting on a newspaper article claiming that far right groups were profiteering from fake poppy memorabilia.

If you are famous and you have an opinion, these sorts of messages are a daily occurrence (look at Gary Lineker on Twitter as an example). Whilst they are generally from disaffected weasels who couldn’t fight themselves out of a wet paper bag, it only takes one nutter to make your life a misery.

So, anyway, going back to the coronavirus post. Most of the comments were positive, and indeed quite funny. However, there amongst it all were the deniers, the conspiracy theorists and even more bizarrely, those who thought I was serious (see below). I guess it shows how things can be taken out of context.

Valid Covid Opinions

I enjoy listening to opinions on coronavirus that have got a bit of common sense. As a small business, I understand the desire to get the economy moving and the theories behind attempting to ring fence the vulnerable. Conversely, on a human level, I fully understand how many people feel about stopping the spread of coronavirus whilst we look for antibodies or vaccines.

I also read, with pity, the stories of lost businesses, broken relationships, financial hardship, and mental health issues caused by all this. I then wonder whether there could be another way. How else could we have dealt with this in a matter where the collateral damage would have been lessened?

I always come to the same conclusion. If we weren’t governed by bullshitters and masters of ineptitude, things would be better. They wouldn’t be perfect, but they would be better without the lies about world beating this that and the other, and the contracts handed out to masters of ineptitude with offshore accounts.

Take a look at the countries who are doing well with coronavirus. Those in power have levelled with their people and acted on their pledges. In return, they get a population who generally act responsibly and play their part in trying to install normality.

Bullshit and rule breaking from those in power, creates apathy, nutjob conspiracy theories and all round chaos.

That’s where I believe we are.

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