2021 Lockdown – Day 15

We’ve now recorded 1610 deaths in the UK over a 24 hour period due to Covid-19. The UK officially has the highest rate of Covid related deaths per capita in the world. I hope I’m not the only one who feels nothing. It seems inappropriate to feel emotional about a number. While acrophobia (the fear of heights) is not entirely irrational, it can be somewhat irrational. Falling 1,610 feet might be no more lethal than falling 16 feet but it seems much more terrifying.

For those who’ve lost loved ones, the number one is a much more profound number than the number 1610. Being 1 of 1610 is more insulting and obscene than upsetting. To lose 1610 people to a pandemic in one day suggests incompetence on someone’s part and as much as we seek justice it’s easier to lose someone to fate than at the hands of a person or group of people. I’m sure this number will be used to shame people into using masks and socially distancing but it’s not fair to burden people this way.

There needs to be a better reason to take precautions than to escape guilt. It’s well documented that encouragement works much better than guilt in changing behaviour. A parent that blames their child for making them unhappy is simply transferring guilt and causing the child to habitually take burdens upon themselves that are not theirs to carry. The dynamics are a little different when it comes to the public versus those in authority but the fundamental principles are similar.

These irrationally large numbers are not easily digested so the problem can seems too large for anyone to make anything like a significant difference. If the public sense that those in authority are losing a grip on the situation, the onus logically is on them to fix something that appears unfixable. Being stood on a 4 foot wall might be terrifying to an acrophobic but its not unmanageable for most people. In any crisis it’s the responsibility of the government to give comfort to the public, no matter how inadequate or precarious.

Most of the population had the government’s back in March 2020. It wasn’t to do with any record of competence. People needed to believe that the government had the pandemic under control and willed the Prime Minister to take charge. Just as a young child instinctively trusts their parents, the public were inclined to believe what those in charge told them. For this reason it’s important that the government acts like a parent, shouldering the knocks and behaving responsibly. Mistakes are tolerated and blame is withheld where lessons are being learned.

But experience is a brittle tutor. And trust cannot be bent endlessly without breaking. We live by patterns and when they are recognised they’re not easily ignored. You need a majority to overturn a government. You don’t need a majority to create a riot. It would seem the children are running the home and that is not sustainable.

Yesterday was supposedly and traditionally the most depressing day of the year. There is no science or statistics behind this but the theory is that it’s when you come down off the high of Christmas and New Year, have nothing immediate to look forward to except the bills and the weather is usually bad. With Christmas being a bit of a damp squib it was more of another step on the plateau of nothingness. There is nothing more depressing than more of the same when the same is hopeless. Hitting the height of incompetence is more dispiriting when you discover it’s a false summit.

Something must be done and not more of the same. We’ve been here before, many times. Too many times.

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