Sunday, 15 March 2020

Battening Down the Hatches

There's not much funny a humorous blog can say about the oncoming storm of coronavirus, Covid-19. There is a certain grim humour, as when Burton Dassett called into a supermarket this morning to find no toilet roll at all. Just, at one end of the shelves, a load of kitchen roll called "Blitz". That is, at least, as St Alanis might put it, ironic.

And I do wonder about the habit of stockpilers only to stockpile cheap stuff. If you think you're going to spend a couple of weeks locked down with nothing to do, surely you owe it to yourself to buy some clam chowder and a decent port, not Value spaghetti and baked beans.

Unlike many, I don't think the Government is indulging in an attempt at eugenics with its advice. They seem to have decided that there won't be a vaccine along in a while, or a decent drug - and they may well be right, I'm afraid - so the idea that we should accept most people will catch this virus, and that the best you can do is spread this over a long time, is not actually necessarily stupid. Though time will tell. I can't comment. Although I can bore you silly on the history of the 1918-19 Spanish Flu, that knowledge is a fallout from my drug design studies in my youth, not a means of prophesying the future.

Take care of yourself - physically and mentally. Media still wants clicks, even during a pandemic. And social media emphasises the negative. Get decent news - the Guardian does for me, or the BBC - and only look at it twice a day. And don't retweet bad health advice (cider vinegar, anyone?) or utter doom. Remember most people commenting don't know very much about virology, or epidemiology. There's a lot we can do to get nearly everyone through this. You don't have to head for the Winchester to wait till it all blows over, or run around shouting "Don't Panic". Limit your exposure to other people in person, message people to keep in touch, work from home if you can. If you can't, be grateful that some people can, because everyone getting less exposure will help to slow the spread. It's not going to just disappear one day soon. Epidemics only do that once they've used up all their fuel, or a cure is found. But we can all work to damp down the impacts on the health services. And please wash your hands. And don't hog all the loo roll.

Three final thoughts. Firstly, this exposes the way we have thought we are isolated from the natural events of life. The BCP had a prayer for times of plague and pestilence. They've not gone away, though we've been lucky for a while.

Secondly, remember Samuel Pepys. On Christmas Day 1665, at the end (on one calendar) of that terrible plague year, he walked through London, and was surprised to see a wedding in progress. He celebrated the city coming through the ordeal by buying two barrels of oysters*. OK, they were just a few months out from the Great Fire, but take the wins you can.

And thirdly, I remember the words of Hosea as he contemplates the conquest of Judah by the Babylonians:
Although the fig tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labour of the olive shall fail,
and the fields shall yield no meat;
the flock shall be cut off from the fold,
and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation. 
The Lord God is my strength,
and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet,
and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

* The London Encyclopaedia 3rd edition: Weinreb, Hibbert, Keay & Keay. (They're wrong about "Ring a Ring of Roses though)

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1 comment :

  1. Thank you for a note of cheer and good sense in these troubled times.


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