As you, I and the entire world are aware of right now, the world has effectively shut down in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The UK has effectively now gone into lockdown, with the only businesses allowed to be open being hospitals, construction-workers (for some reason) and anyone who sells “essential” items.
The virus itself, although the mortality rate of it seems fairly low compared to some other pandemics (AIDS has a near-100% mortality rate), it’s still damaging to the body and seems to be far more contagious than other viruses and diseases. However, truth be told, I’m more terrified by the lockdown than I am by the virus. Specifically, how vindictive people are treating those who aren’t self-isolating.
There are two words I see frequently pop up whenever anyone, be it on social media or on television, is describing people who aren’t self-isolating and still going outdoors etc.: “selfish” and “idiot” (or any terms of a similar derogatory nature). Even Dr. Hilary Jones on Good Morning Britain flippantly used the phrase “all those idiots who went out there at the weekend” to describe people who were taking their mothers out for a walk on Mothers Day. (https://youtu.be/tbAYN9zKIJQ?t=190).
The thing is I don’t think people truly realise just how damaging the lockdown itself will be. Obviously, the biggest way this is going to hit us besides the death-count is the economy. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people have either had their jobs be put on hold or have flat-out been let go by their employers. Not to mention all the small businesses like cafes and tradesmen who suddenly have no business.
And sure, the government is telling us all that they’re going to be paying people in need and will be cutting certain expenses etc. However with the buffoonish Prime Minister we have right now, I’m not entirely sure I can trust them when they say those sorts of things. Essentially, I won’t believe it until I see it.
But there are other ways this is going to hit people, too:
• People with autism, or families with an autistic person, are going to be hurt by this. A common trait between autistic people like myself depend on routine and patterns to get through the day. And suddenly, hundreds of autistic people's routines are going to be disrupted.
• There’s a hidden epidemic of homeless people who rent hotel rooms or similar temporary residence as they can’t afford a proper apartment. I know someone who’s in this situation (and there’s a brilliant film about it called The Florida Project I’d recommend). Now with hotels and similar closing their doors and kicking people out, where are they going to go?
• Domesitc abuse victims are going to suffer because of this. Just a few months ago, people with violent and/or coercive partners would be able to go to a cafe where they could get help from their friends, or children who were suffering would be able to be spotted and rescued by their teachers. Now, not only are these places closed down, but they can’t even leave their own houses!
• Barbers and hairdressers were being trained to spot the signs of mental illness since they’re the places where people can talk about their feelings without judgement. Who’s going to spot those mental illness symptoms, now?
• People without the internet will suffer. No, not everyone has the internet and they’re going to struggle to find a way to order deliveries the things they need to survive.
• Children could very well end up getting rickets, since they wouldn’t be allowed outdoors and too many of them have insufficient diets as it is (have you seen the ingredients for some of the snack-foods these kids live on?!)
I get the importance of everyone staying indoors and away from others as much as possible to soften the blow that this pandemic will have. Really, I do! But I honestly don’t think people are thinking it through as to a) how much damage the lockdown will cause in its own right, and b) how blindly condemning anyone who’s not following the advice word-for-word will do more harm than good.
Am I saying that everyone who went outdoors, had a gathering etc. is doing so with good intent? No. But it’s dangerous to judge someone by first impressions. Even if this lockdown is for the greater good, real good people are still going to be hurt by this, and the least they deserve is some sympathy.
Is there anything I can do to somehow stop people judging by first impressions and instead have sympathy for those who are mixing with other people not out of selfishness but out of necessity?
Hugs (if I’m still allowed to do so),
* * *
I get that you are frustrated by the lockdown and feel sympathy for those who are affected. Yes, telling people to stay home from work and to not socialize is hard on everyone, and it is harder on those who do not have Internet access or may otherwise have difficulties because of a lockdown.
However, the alternative--letting people do as they did before and not have any restrictions on interpersonal contacts--would be far worse. This virus is extremely contagious, and if it were allowed to spread without any controls, we would find hospitals everywhere overwhelmed and people dying at an accelerated rate. Covid-19, if left unchecked, could literally kill 100 million people in a year if absolutely nothing was done to try and control it. That is about twice as many people dying as died in World War II over the war's six years.
There is no cure for it. There is no vaccine. If you get it and are vulnerable to respiratory or cardiac failure, there is a good chance it could kill you. And all doctors and nurses can do is watch you die.
If you are suggesting that we should allow, as you seem to point out, barbershops, cafes, hotels, etc. to operate normally, even to open up churches, shelters, etc. and allow high concentrations of people to congregate, you are giving COVID-19 a free pass to openly infect literally millions of people, many of whom will die. And not only those with COVID could die, but because hospitals would be overwhelmed, people with other illnesses just as deadly or more deadly will not be able to have access to medical care, and, thus, you would be condemning those people to die too.
So, do you feel that is fair? Do you think it is more important for people to socialize in large groups than it is to try to lower the number of people who literally die?
You are worried about shaming. Yes, there are people being shamed because they are ignoring warnings and going about doing stuff they normally would without regard to safety. One example of this in the United States was that Spring Break was allowed to continue in many areas. Lots of young people, thinking they were invulnerable or that the threat was exaggerated by the media, went out and partied. The result? A lot of those people now have COVID-19. And they either get very ill themselves or they give it to older people or people with compromised immune systems who then get very sick or even die. The young are not invulnerable. Half the serious cases of COVID-19 are people under 40 years of age.
Do you honestly feel that is forgivable? Do you honestly feel worse that their feelings might get hurt and their self-esteem might be bruised because someone called them a selfish idiot for putting people's lives at risk?
This isn't a game, Charleston. This is life and death. Things might not seem too serious now, but we haven't seen this virus peak yet, which it could do by next month, and we could see an exponential spike that would overwhelm health care systems worldwide. The only thing that could help make this disaster somewhat manageable is if people cooperate and think about others instead of just themselves.
Unfortunately, some people have to be ridiculed before they listen, and even then many of them won't listen. Apparently you don't think they should be criticized for that. I, for one, think it is appropriate to call someone a selfish prick if they are willing to hurt others because they want to have a party and ignore everyone else's needs. That is the very definition of being a selfish piece of shit.
Judging on first impressions, yes, can be bad. For example, judging someone because of their race or religion or sexual preference without even knowing them is wrong. However, this is different. This isn't judging someone because of their beliefs or genetics. This is judging someone by their actions. Actions DO define you.
No one is saying that if you are going outside because it is necessary then you are a bad person. No one is saying that people providing food or medical services is selfish if they don't stay home. No one is saying that you can't go buy groceries. No one is saying you should ignore your autistic child (my grandson is autistic and his mom is taking care of him just fine, thank you very much). No one is saying if you are a victim of domestic abuse that you can't go seek help. (If you are going to a hairdresser for your mental health needs.... OMG, I can't even comment on that one! Jeez!)
This is a pandemic. It's serious. It is going to impact everyone hard, whether or not you get ill yourself. If my 72-year-old husband with a heart condition gets sick and dies because some little self-entitled, selfish punk had to go to a party, then you're damn fucking right I am going to be mad and call them what they are: selfish little turds.
There is such a thing as a selfish little turd. And if someone is one, I will call them one and I won't give a fuck if it hurts their feelings. Too goddamn bad.
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