Why are you waiting for leaders to slow the pandemic?

c: | f: /

Like the COVID-19 virus itself, it’s impossible to escape the media coverage of it. People are angry. Feel helpless. Scared. That’s all normal. But pause, just a moment, and think.

Human rights hands in the air behind barbed wire

Image: “Gordon Johnson”:https://pixabay.com/users/gdj-1086657/ from Pixabay

There’s a tweet attracting a lot of attention over how the coronavirus pandemic was preventable. Of course, the arguments in the comments rage between lefties slagging off Boris Johnson for manslaughter and righties defending him.

Yep, the age old human problem: point the finger. Because self-analysis is hard.

Watching Boris bumbling his way through public address after public address is embarrassing. There’s no other word for it. The illusion of control he exhibits is laughable.

But this is the thing I don’t get. Why oh why are people complaining that he hasn’t initiated a compulsory lockdown of the entire country? Brought in martial law. Why is it up to one man to tell you how to act? How to use common sense?

Action is your responsibility

Rightly or wrongly, I like to believe most people are rational human beings and can make up their own minds based on information. To act accordingly and sensibly. To follow best practices based on expertise regarding COVID-19 from around the globe.

You have the entire spectrum of up-to-the-minute human knowledge in your pocket; don’t squander it by sitting glued to your television waiting for some buffoon to speak before you act.

You have a civic responsibility – nay, a duty – to yourself, your family and those around you, with whom you share 99%+ of your DNA, to do the right thing. Every day.

You shouldn’t need anyone to tell you to wash your hands after you’ve been to the toilet. To cover your face when you sneeze or cough, and then clean your hands before you touch anyone or anything else. We’re not talking OCD levels here, just basic hygiene.

Information flows both up and down the chain of command

Beyond the sensationalised mainstream media, and meme-laden social media, there’s a mine of reasonably balanced information from the scientific community regarding other countries (mis)handling of the situation, and best practices so we don’t follow in their footsteps.

With all that data, I’m surprised that corporations and individuals were, in general, so slow to take any sensible actions and precautions until some government numptees decided to wake up and pretend to care this week.

We’ve had months. As soon as news started to break of the level of contagion back in December or January, if I were a CEO or manager, I’d immediately relax the rules on insisting turning up at the office, and encourage remote working for anybody that can. Adjust shift patterns to minimise crossover. Brief people on additional, more stringent, hygiene practices than normal. In short, to carry on but keep distance wherever possible.

That’s all simple, sensible stuff that limits the spread of a virus and flattens the contagion curve before it even ramps up to pandemic levels. We needn’t have even reached the panic buying stage.

If your boss wasn’t making these decisions and was playing hardball because of the potential loss of revenue, you could calmly remind them of the facts that close proximity increases the likelihood of spreading the contagion, and the dent in revenue the week or month after will be far greater when it rampages through the workforce due to dangerous levels of egregious dumbfuckery.

There are many things you can do without being told.

Who wants to rule the world?

It doesn’t matter if your most beloved figurehead is purportedly in charge of the country, be that left, right, centre, green, racist, whatever. Ordinarily, their job is to do what we tell them. They represent us and need to balance the issues, in this case to flatten the contagion curve as fast as possible.

Do they shut schools, thereby confining a chunk of essential medical staff to tend to young children instead of the sick? Do they impose a curfew to stop people going out? Do they initiate military action? How does it affect the economy? People’s livelihoods? Their liberties?

Politicians have an impossible task. No way they can please 100% of the people, no matter what the decision, or which party makes it. But that shouldn’t matter. Why look up for guidance, when you already have the power to effect change?

You are your own safety officer

You can (and should) be responsible for your own safety and those around you. You don’t step off the kerb onto a zebra crossing without looking both ways to check if there’s a car or emergency vehicle approaching, even though it’s your right of way. In the face of a virulent contagion rocketing in our direction, why would you go out unless absolutely necessary? Why step off the kerb?

And if you do go out, why would you not try and keep interaction to an absolute minimum? Use contactless payment methods. Stand further apart in queues. Use your sleeve to open doors. Wipe things down. Leave more of a gap when you pass someone on the street.

All simple, sensible precautions, every one of which massively reduces the chance of passing on or contracting the virus.

Stop bleating. Stop panicking. Stop demonising. Start doing.

Yes, a contagion as rampant as this one is scary. But it’s controllable and minimisable through common sense. Now we’ve let it get to this stage, those measures are harder. Require more drastic action. As much as it pains me to say so, it’s not solely the politicians’ fault that it’s spread as far as it has, and as quickly.

It’s yours. Ours. Mine. Everyone’s.

Detailed information has been available for ages. Read it. Take the initiative, like we should have two, three, months ago. Do the right thing now. This minute. Do the world a favour – truly – instead of waiting for some tool in Whitehall to tell you how to behave.

In short, stay safe, act rationally, be sensible, and we’ll slow this contagion in spite of (or in addition to) whatever late measures our leaders may impose.

5 vagabonds scribbled here


    Well said, you angry monocle, well said!

    Shawn H

    Very well stated, sir.

    I’ve been aware of this becoming a pandemic since late January, and had all of my family prepare for it, although they’ve mocked me mercilessly.

    No, we haven’t hoarded toilet paper – I have a business, and they’re not directly affected as it’s a non-consumer grade (it’s thinner, and less pliable), but we have started to take precautions- as everyone should.

    We can’t assume that the government will take care of us when we’re too stupid to self-isolate. Here in the colonies, our college kids intentionally ignored pleas to not go out and party -and now they’re testing positive. Imagine that.

    An ounce of prevention may worth a pound of cure, but doubly so when there is no cure on the horizon.

    Anyone still assuming they’re going to be saved needs to only look at poor Italy, and how they’re continuing to suffer and die WITH mandatory lockdown.

    Also, thanks for all of your plugins and help over the years with TXP, Bloke. :)

    I had no idea there were any “Still Game” after Season 7, and had completely forgotten about it. After I get paid, I might just gift you Season 9.

    Stef Dawson

    Thanks, @Shawn H. Glad you’re keeping safe. And you’re most welcome for the plugins and help with Textpattern. Always nice to find another Still Game fan too :) Such a brilliant series.

    John Titor

    Awesome, thank you for this. That’s about 2678 positive feedback loops of nibbling kibbles (or 1 gribble?) ;)

    I’m afraid there is no solid encompassing of common sense, especially during a pandemic.

    The concept of infection control can be simplified, but if enough doubt any aspects of its cause and effect, it cannot be understood – it stays outside their paradigm. The issue becomes one of belief and culture.

    As a result of this global event, and how it is portrayed by the media, many suffer from cognitive dissonance.

    So it becomes a personal battle of enduring the unlearned, the antisocials and the one who just don’t give a f***. Oof.

    Stef Dawson

    @John Titor: Thank you, yeah. Common sense seems to have evaporated around February 2020, along with concern for the environment now everything comes in disposable this and that.

    A few months ago I went to McDonald’s – masked up, with an employee nervously hovering with a spray bottle and cloth to wipe me/the kiosk down after – and ordered a chilli wrap, hold the mayos.

    They held the chilli sauce by mistake.

    So I wandered up to the counter and asked the girl working there if she could add a squirt of chilli sauce to the wrap. Pushed the product, still in its carton, under the perspex shield. She nodded, picked it up.

    All of a sudden the nearby manager lady leapt into action. She screamed out – and I mean proper yelled – “Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it! Don’t touch it!” lunged for the wrap, yanked it from this poor girl’s grasp and dashed it into the bin behind the counter, then glared at me like I had black death.

    Seriously, I blinked. Twice. I’d have gone without the sauce if I’d known that was going to be the reaction. It was like some surreal twist on Monty Python’s dirty fork sketch. I half expected the area manager to burst in with a flamethrower and torch the bin.

    There’s so much lip service to infection control at one end vs extreme adherence to guidelines – to the point of Jobsworth lunacy – at the other. No wonder nobody knows what the hell’s going on.

Type away


(required, never made visible)

(optional, linked with rel="nofollow")