I’M feeling much better, thank you for asking. Oh, you weren’t asking? I’ll try not take offence.
You see, for a few days a couple of weeks ago I was waging a one-man battle against Covid. But I have emerged the other side almost unscathed. I am officially a Covid Survivor.
It all started at dinner at babushka‘s on the Wednesday. The salads were good but I committed a faux pas by saying one particular dish was ‘not my favourite’. Apparently it passes for a damning insult in these parts.
Fast forward a few days to Saturday and most of us had fallen ill with some kind of lurgy. Not to do with the food, mind. Clearly, we had not drunk enough of Misha’s horseradish-infused moonshine to render our bodies an inhospitable zone, unfit even for Wuhan’s most virulent virus.
The girlfriend fell sick first. I inwardly mocked her weak immune system and quietly glowed in pride at my hardy Anglo-Saxon constitution. For a few hours, anyway. By the next day she had staged a remarkable recovery while the Saxon shield-wall of my immune system had given way, as if assailed by a viral William of Normandy. Hubris personified.
For the next few days the classic symptoms of Covid-19 all came and went. Chills, fever, headache, loss of appetite, a cough, fatigue, lost sense of smell. This carousel of displeasure buggered up a week intended for other plans (why does a virus never strike when you have nothing better to do?).
Sunday was spent shivering and sweating. Monday was dedicated to aches and a spot of weakness. On Tuesday it felt like a few shards of jagged glass were clanging around my cranium. By Wednesday, I felt largely fine. When Thursday arrived the only legacy of the virus was that my morning coffee tasted like water, even after upping its strength considerably. Strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, artificial sweeteners seemed to be the only thing to register strongly on the tongue. The fatigue lingered for a few days.
So that was it. That was what I have been avoiding for the past year, and the reason for which my life (and, unfortunately, not just mine) has been so inconvenienced. Three days of discomfort. A few years ago I had a worse flu – the difference being that society and the economy were not made to stop because of it.
Having had survived Covid (as I assume it was), it now seems madness to order all young people – those whose immune systems are fully able to deal with the virus by themselves – to stay indoors for months on end, in effect bringing their lives to a halt.
Those who are vulnerable must have the choice to isolate, and arrangements made accordingly. Yet, the damage wrought on society as a whole – with its little platoons crushed under the all-destructive boot of Sage and its health fascists – may now be irreparable.
The economy will take years to recover. Small and medium businesses are ruined while massive corporations grow fat amid the government-sponsored destruction of their rivals. Once the economy is weaned off the addictive painkiller of Sunak’s furlough scheme, millions will find themselves in unemployment. With an economy in tatters, how do the proponents of an eternal lockdown suppose our health services will be funded?
Surely by now people must be thinking the world ought to resume a semblance of normality? I don’t believe the opinion polls which claim the contrary (or maybe I should, gripped as we perhaps are by a mass psychosis). The risks of not getting back to normal are simply too high. Over the last year the amount of power centralised into unaccountable cliques of government advisers and a small coterie of people in tech, as well as the state’s rapid takeover of the economy, all spell disaster for any conception of a free society. Mandatory vaccinations, immunity passports: guises under which totalitarianism can proliferate. All ‘for your own good’. It always is, of course. Soon, free-born Englishmen will face being interned upon arrival in the UK – something for which they’ll have to pay. Surely asking someone to pay for their own involuntary incarceration is illegal? Am I alone in thinking this sets an utterly mad precedent?
Inevitably, this article will be met with accusations of selfishness. I am young and hence the virus is less frightening to me. There are, however, in instances such as these, no good choices to make. We are left with decisions that are merely less bad than others. How much of a sacrifice would be enough? A year? Two years? Three? Are these not valid questions to be asked?
By this point we have had nearly twelve months to get Our NHS ready. Months of education, work, socialising, sports, friendships, courtships, adventures and the rest of it all sacrificed in the name of ‘three weeks to flatten to curve’. And yet we find ourselves in the same position as before: even the vaccine won’t set you free now. No end in sight, no glimmer of hope.
The government can only view the world through one metric: that of Covid ‘cases’. Such tunnel vision has led it to lose sight of the bigger picture. The longer it goes on, the more it reminds me of the film Mousehunt, in which two brothers try to rid the grand old house they inherit from their father of a lone mouse. By the film’s end, the house is a wreck and the mouse remains at large.
Perhaps it’s time to try something else. We need some deadlines. We should start considering a policy that won’t lead to the utter ruin of the UK, if that point has not been reached already.
We could start off by reimplementing the strategy practised by mankind since the dawn of time: let people lead their lives normally. If they fall ill, they stay away from others until they are better. Then let them carry on as normal. If people want to stay indoors out of fear for the virus, allow them.
As the virus spreads, so too will immunity. We will never, ever be ‘Covid-zero’ – that is a dangerous, pernicious lie – but the virus will slowly fade from view. Perhaps we could have done something similar a year ago and saved ourselves from the greatest policy disaster in a century, which will see a proliferation of mental health issues caused by isolation and despair, which will result in an untold number of deaths due to undiagnosed and untreated health problems, and which will leave our society and economy in tatters, with far-reaching and as-yet-unknown consequences.
Isolating healthy people isn’t normal. It is an abusive policy which, after nearly a year, cannot surely be sustained much longer. Normality must resume.
Certainly, it is clear by now that the government will not succeed in ridding us of this ps;particular mouse, no matter how hard they may try.
Indeed, the longer it goes on, the more one assumes there must be ulterior motives at work.
PS: Babushka is also feeling better.