So, almost five months after my last ‘rant’ and I’m still no clearer. Yes, this is about Covid-19. Again. Is it presumptuous to think that I’m not alone in feeling an ongoing confusion about the Great Virus Debate? And the Covid-related restrictions we’re all living with right now? And about the potential misuse of power on the back of whatever the Great Virus may or may not be? Generally speaking, I like doing research. But with this, I feel as though everything I check, everywhere I look, whatever I dig up, it all fizzles out into a great screen of fog. I purposefully don’t call it a smoke screen, because that would imply that I blame someone or something in particular for creating such a screen, when in fact I don’t even know enough to know where to apportion any blame. It’s like shadow boxing.
I know people who think all the anti-corona measures are part of a great global conspiracy to suppress the masses and introduce a system of world domination. I also know people who’ve had Covid-19 and are now, months later, still dealing with the aftermath and would not wish this on anyone. I know people who feel their personal freedom is under threat because they are supposed to wear a mask in shops, and I know people who disinfect every item of shopping before bringing it indoors. You can’t look at any media, social or otherwise, without having someone’s (usually extreme) theories thrust at you. Me, I still have no idea whom to trust. I have absolutely no fucking idea. So, I’ve given it up: no longer reading the opinions and the reports and the theories and the accusations, no longer trying to figure it out. If anyone out there actually KNOWS, as opposed to, feels outraged or afraid or incensed or put upon or whatever, I haven’t come across them. Instead, the world has fallen into yet more upheaval, finger-pointing and aggression: depending on who you give your attention to, this is all a made-up panic to strip us of our civil rights, OR we need to live in fear of our lives and must shut everything down until ‘it’ has been eradicated, OR it’s just some new kind of ‘flu that we need to learn to live with, OR Big Bad Bill has sponsored this to reduce the world population, OR… with each side hacking at the others and the attacks getting more ferocious by the day. Nice one, human family! Didn’t we have enough problems already, what with climate change, rogue politicians, loss of species on a massive scale, rampant racism, forests burning out of control and (affecting me and my family directly) Brexit?
I don’t actually care (except on an ethical level) whether SARS-CoV-2 was created in and leaked from some laboratory in China, or whether it occurred as a result of the abominable way we humans habitually treat this planet and the creatures we share it with. I don’t care because it makes no difference anymore: it’s already out there – deal with it! I’m also aware that we (as in, Mr W. and I) are among those privileged people who work from home anyway, don’t have school-aged kids or relatives in hospitals or care homes, and right now we’re not under immediate economic threat. All we’ve had to do is bunker up a bit more than usual, considering our above-average vulnerability to all things going for the lungs. But we have kids and grandkids, friends and family who are struggling, while all we can do is look on from afar. Not good.
So, what to do? Since ‘out there’ seems to be giving advice that is, at best, inconsistent, I’ve given up on that, too: it’s me and my intuition all the way. What my intuition tells me is to refuse anything that’s fear-based, it tells me to question everything I hear, regardless of where it comes from, to dismiss what insults my soul (thanks, Mr Whitman) and to use my common sense (which works a lot better when I’m not running scared). Common sense tells me that wearing a mask and not rubbing shoulders with crowds of people is helpful right now, so that’s what I’m doing. It tells me to keep my vitamin intake up, to do calming, strengthening and cardiac exercises and spend time in the open air, all of which is good for my immune system. It tells me to keep in physical contact with my small ‘bubble’ of close friends and family only, and in virtual contact with everyone else in my life. It tells me to stay away from crowded places, public transport and airports for the time being. It tells me to focus on what I CAN do rather than what I CAN’T do and have a meaningful, creative and joyful time anyway, right now.
But most of all, it tells me that there’s no need for panic, no need for all the fearmongering, and certainly no need for the nastiness, name calling and down-shutting of anyone who dares to have and voice their own opinion. I don’t need to like what you say, I don’t need to listen to what you say if I don’t like it, but you have every right to say it. That’s one of the basic rights that make up democracy: the right to voice one’s own opinion, the right to disagree. Shut that down, and we’re in a lot more trouble than any virus, even SARS-CoV-2, can cause.