I see your average head, smugger than a city trader with stocks in handwash, younger than retirement age and reasonably healthy. I hear the happy chatter of your average house with your average children, your average wife and your average self about to head off to your average jobs. There’s none of this silly panic for you, is there, Jack? You’re alright and so’s everyone you care about. You’ll keep one eye on the news and both hands on the keyboard, lamenting the stupidity of everyone around you and sharing every badly photoshopped meme you can find about death rates and outbreak statistics. It’s not even as bad as the winter flu, is it Jack? Move along, idiots. There’s nothing to see here beyond Jack himself, shaking out his feathers like a glorious peacock of ignorance. Look at Jack in all his majesty, convinced he knows better than the WHO because he read a meme!

If there’s one disease that spreads faster than your mum’s legs would for Tom Hardy it’s public panic. Paranoia and anxiety about Coronavirus are like the Krankees in their sexual heyday – in full swing, fucking absolutely anybody willing to jump into bed with them. Yes, the hysteria is dangerous, and for the vast majority of people should this become a full-blown pandemic they’ll experience mild symptoms and recover quickly. But here’s the thing, Jack. Sometimes – just sometimes – it’s not all about you, is it?

“It’s only really dangerous for the elderly and people with underlying conditions” is a remarkable shrug that reveals a worrying lack of empathy. Since when did that entire tranche of society become expendable to us? The situation is currently too fluid and too unpredictable to state with any real certainty just what the final cost will be. The fatality rate was only recently revised upwards and there now appear to be two distinct strains of the infection, meaning it’s already mutated once and may well do so again. Excessive precaution on behalf of governments and health authorities is sensible in the face of that uncertainty. When cruise ships are quarantined off the coast and entire cities are in lockdown like World War Z is kicking off, it’s easy to make the mistake of conflating that sense of urgency with the actual risk to the general public.

Should we all be shitting ourselves, rendering all that extra bog roll we’ve stockpiled pointless? Definitely not, because the hysteria helps nobody and risks placing a colossal strain on an underfunded health service that’s about to be tested harder than… well, an underfunded health service under Matt Hancock. We’ve already seen some remarkably stupid proposals for how our government is going to address the crisis, including asking the recently retired to return to the NHS now that they’ve graduated into one of the more at-risk age brackets. Some will do it, such is the remarkable sense of public duty that our healthcare professionals display in times of crisis, but can we realistically expect enough of the recent burn victims to rush back in to the raging bin-fire they’ve just escaped from?

More than that, can we actually expect the Johnson administration to pivot away from petty vindictiveness towards its perceived oppressors towards genuine leadership in a public health crisis? The man himself is already making up utter bollocks about shaking hands with Coronavirus patients in a hospital. When you’re too busy worrying about Mary Beard to focus on basic advice on preventing the spread of infection there’s a slight chance the tracking might be knackered on your priorities.

We get it, Jack. There’s too much doom and gloom going on and far too many people are being way too dramatic. The problem is that complacency risks becoming an equal and opposite accomplice to hysteria, particularly if the healthy who risk so little fail to take into account those who cannot afford to contract the virus.

The care home outbreak in America shows just how lethal Covid-19 can be among the vulnerable and it’s not just the elderly. The disabled, cancer patients, anyone with compromised immunity or underlying lung conditions – they aren’t facing a fatality rate that’s as easy to shrug off. 3.4% as an average should be worrying enough but that statistic spikes drastically for the at-risk groups. They’re facing a potentially genuine risk to life, particularly when the swaggering bravado of ignorant morons who fail to even think of them rises to the level of dismissing the advice of experts. “Just let it pass” is a staggeringly selfish position and an outrightly dangerous sentiment when spread across the Internet.

In short, Jack? We get it; you’re alright. So are most of us. But maybe – just maybe – you could think about other people for once, follow the official advice and wash your smug little hands a bit more regularly.

I see you, Jack. I fucking see you.

I See You

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