Political

Why we both must and mustn’t get use to living with coronavirus

We must get used to living with coronavirus.

The virus is still in widespread circulation in the community. A vaccine is still quite possibly 1-2 years away even on relatively optimistic scenarios. Normality is not about to return, especially for the very large number of people in high-risk groups. In other words, we must get used to living with coronavirus.

But we also mustn’t get used to living with coronavirus.

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Friday’s news that “only” 44 people had died a day on average in hospitals from coronavirus in the previous week showed how quickly we’ve become acclimatised to coronavirus deaths. Even with the good news of that 7-day average falling, it’s still at a level where the deaths on any one day are such that if they had occurred in a one-off industrial accident it would have resulted in banner headlines, lengthy inquiries and radical changes to how that industry operations. In other words, we must not get used to living with coronavirus.

Sometimes, then, inconsistency is a virtue. Adapt but don’t accept. Get used to it. But don’t get used to it.

 

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2 responses to “Why we both must and mustn’t get use to living with coronavirus”

  1. There are possibly profound effects we must think about. For example, the live arts scene is already being devastated. One major theatre recently made all its staff redundant. How many pubs will survive, is uncertain. The voluntary arts scene is also hit hard. Online action can substitute quite well for writing groups, but not for folk music.

    It may be that many of the activities by which older and low-income people socialised and co-operated – activities fundamental to the health of a Liberal society – will not come back. I’m not preaching doom, but preaching thought to find the best solutions.

    On the death toll, though – it’s terrible, but current figures need to be put in context. We think of three people dying in a terrorist attack as terrible, but three dying in a road accident as terrible if you knew them, otherwise, normal. People die in large numbers from obesity-related conditions or as aresult of air pollution or from loss of will to live or inability to exercise occasioned by poor care, but only the experts add all the figures up.

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