The virus is a warning shot from Gaia. The global panic is the collective nervous breakdown we’ve been trying to have since the turn of the century – or before. The Way We Live Now has been driving us mad since The End Of History at the latest.
Covid-19 has provoked more articles about how this isn’t the planet getting its own back, than articles about how this is the planet getting its own back.
We’re so concerned to refute the notion that this is Gaia’s revenge that you’d almost think we’re worried that this might be – but the whole idea is so ridiculous that I can’t finish the sentence.
This is just a naturally occurring virus that’s jumped from (other) animals to humans. Probably bats. I forget. Just ordinary bats, if so. Not vampire bats. Don’t be silly.
These are rational times.
Before too long, the virus will disappear, global capitalism will start up again, the airlines will reinstate scheduled flights to …. Oh, where shall we say? … Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, among other distant places, and …
… we’ll all buy tickets to fly off to remote hotspots and breathe in the unfamiliar germs – air! I mean, breathe in the unfamiliar air!
And it was all going so well. Sorry about that.
The issue with testing has gone on too long. Other countries have tested millions of people; we’ve only tested a handful, et cetera. And the issue with protective clothing. Principal media use of Zoom is to interview nurses and doctors who haven’t been given the right gear.
Nobody can get through to any official body online. Applications for immediate help are going to take time to process. The banks, this morning, are apparently not rising to the government’s invitation to extend loans to businesses about to go under. Surprise.
The government’s daily media briefing now conveys numbers, platitudes and awkward questions. There are more cars on the roads and building work seems to have restarted on a couple of sites locally.
We’re in the middle of a deadly global pandemic and we’re bored with it.
The government(s) had the initiative and now they’ve lost it.
I’ve always slightly taken it for granted that large organisations can’t do anything. Intergovernmental panels on climate change can set targets but they can’t unchanged the climate. Your bank can email you about how helpful it is, but if your business is going under – sorry.
Favourite example: the waitress will check with the manager who will check with head office to find out whether, in future, they will be able to offer vegan mayonnaise to go with my companion’s salad.
So far, the response to the crisis has been most effective at times when the crisis was acute. Back then, there was a reason to tune in to the daily briefing. Back then, there was reason to stay inside.
Now that the crisis is chronic, and nothing much new is happening, we’re in danger of drifting outside for long enough to infect each other.
In a properly organised fictional pandemic, everything progresses in a logical, orderly manner. The virus is lethal; the government gets progressively more totalitarian in its response; people die in their millions; the survivors get together by about Chapter Seven and build an agrarian utopia.
The real thing isn’t dramatic enough. It’s been pointed out that Covid-19 is absolutely the right virus for the way we live now – engineered to take down global travel, densely populated cities, et cetera – but the further aspect of that is – it’s engineered to worm its way past our attention span.
If it’s going to get really, really bad, that’ll be because we lose interest in it.
Wow, this is a cunning virus. It won’t kill us all now, but if it hangs around and enough of us slip outside to get infected and thus keep it going, and then more of us slip outside because nothing dramatic’s happened, and then…
I was thinking about the human capacity to normalise what happens. We’ve been hit by a virus. It’s been there for a while. We’re not supposed to go outside, but expletive deleted, I’ve run out of milk. The shop’s just down the road and I’m sure it won’t matter if…
Every disaster is inconceivable until it happens. Then it’s – you know, the thing that happened.
But – you know – a quick trip to get some milk? That won’t do any harm.