Roar writer Theodore Nash predicts a sad new world of consistent lockdowns and self-policing, as Covid-19 passes its first year.
I’ve always found it frankly ironic that social media – a tool designed to bring people together – often has the adverse effect, making many of us feel further apart…even alone. In a time where people throughout the world are having to choose between breaking the law and interacting through a digital medium, social media use is the highest it’s ever been. Combined with the prevailing viral situation, as a result, another older epidemic has spread like the Californian wildfires; it’s called depression.
But now we have a reason to celebrate, Covid-19 turned 1 year old a few weeks ago, so let’s rush off to those Zoom quizzes with our virtual party poppers at the ready. The past months of dog walks, Tinder stints and telling Matteo to put his microphone back on mute have been worth it for 7 more months of lockdown (with all the delights it entails).
As usual, lets expect the government to put physical health of the few over mental health of the many. I dread the strain a generation of depressives will have on our precious NHS. But at least grandpa got to spend a year tended to by gloved and masked nurses, seeing his grandkids through a sheet of glass every 2 weeks. Is living really the priority over happiness?
In the latest instalment of cancel culture, every person with a Twitter account appears to be denouncing MP Desmond Swayne for encouraging protesters to continue to campaign against lockdown. In his blog, he writes about “businesses [being potentially] closed until June: there would be no such businesses left.”
His scepticism of the coronavirus measures is likened by many to mutiny or “disrespect to our NHS Heroes”. Yet what sort of regime has emerged during this crisis if healthy, intellectual debate is earmarked as treason? Without sufficient, public scepticism of government policy, what’s stopping a repeat of last March’s shambles? That’s not to mention the absolute necessity of a prompt review into whether an extended 3rd lockdown will harm more in the future through damage to the economy, mass job loss and bankrupties than it saves in the present.
Shame has had a large part to play in fighting viral transmission. The government have used the media to transform people’s social values. The constant tick of the cases and death numbers published every evening acts as a continual reminder that this disaster is far from over. It’s suddenly disgraceful if I hugged a perfectly healthy, middle-aged person having not disclosed a journey on the tube 2 weeks earlier. But what if she chartered a private jet or used a disposable mask?
We are each policing each other, setting our own, often unspoken codes of conduct as to what is “covid-secure”. From one-way systems to the Borough-Market benches being locked up, many of the decisions being made use a “better safe than sorry” attitude, rather than being based on any scientific reasoning.
And that’s why the new world is sad: masks are scary and impersonal, the highstreets are disappearing in a “Thanosian” style, and people’s values are based on fear rather than facts.