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Corona Diaries: corona-fatigue, and innovative uses for the President’s meds

May 19, 2020

It’s hardly surprising that some of us might be suffering from a touch of corona-fatigue. No, not from the virus itself, but from the stream of information, opinions, contradictory facts, statistics and out-and-out bullshit that flits across the eye-line no matter where we look for our news.

It’s almost as if the coverage is the result of a deliberate disinformation strategy designed to reduce us from shock, confusion and anxiety to blanked-out apathy. The sort of thing that was once a KGB speciality is now a tradition carried on with enthusiasm by Vladimir Putin. Not that I’m accusing Putin, Xi or any of the other usual suspects on this occasion. Nothing will convince me that this pandemic is anything but a natural phenomenon.

Until recently I devoured coronavirus news from multiple sources. The London Times and the New York Times, to which I subscribe, the BBC website and a host of other publications either through email prompts or Twitter.

Now I ignore much of the stuff and focus on a few stories. The search for a vaccine and anti-viral treatments, for example. The political implications of the pandemic in various countries. The stupidity and lies of Donald Trump and a host of other leaders, including our own.

These days I often pass by the individual stories of suffering, death and grief, and the counter-balancing inspirational tales of courage, selflessness and sacrifice. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s more a lack of bandwidth.

There was a time when I would lament the fact that the death of a hundred people in a car-bombing in Kabul or Baghdad would attract less attention in my country than a fire in a London tower block. Now that a thousand tower blocks are on fire, I find it no easier to mourn the victims than to experience more than a frisson of shock when gunmen spray bullets into an Afghan maternity ward. Near or far, death is death.

My political light relief comes mainly from the United States. There’s little to laugh about in my government’s behaviour, but Donald Trump and his administration is a gift that keeps on giving. Every day there’s a new story that launches a thousand memes. The State Department inspector-general who was fired after investigating Pompeo’s use of his minions to walk his dog is a case in point. The idea of a high official interviewing dog walkers is curious, to say the least.

Then there’s Trump’s claim that he takes hydroxychloroquine to ward off the virus. This is a drug whose side effects include paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. It’s hard not to be amused by a tweet like:

In the last ten minutes Donald Trump has said that all inspector generals should be fired because “they may be Obama people,” revealed that he is taking hydroxychloroquine and that the doctors who warn against it should be ignored because they are probably Democrats

And then there’s Nancy Pelosi’s delicious twist of the knife when she says:

“He’s our president and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group — morbidly obese, they say”

Yes, the Trump Show is truly a laugh a minute, until you remember that he’s a man who can wipe out half the planet with the press of a button. You’d hope, though, that there’s someone in the background sensible enough to apply the straitjacket before the president’s finger wanders close to Armageddon.

In the UK, on the other hand, we are regaled with cheerful headlines like this selection from yesterday’s Times:

Tough quarantine plan scuppers holiday hopes

UK wants 30m doses of vaccine in four months

Academies warn of irreparable harm if schools remain closed

BMA accused of poor science over return to classes

Blood-thinning drugs offer hope to beat clots

Half of doctors fear for their health

Vitamin D deficiency linked to risk

Advisers cast doubt on the official range of symptoms

Scandal firm given tests job

It’s little wonder that the normally sedate readers of The Times might be oscillating from rhapsody to despair. The good news? We’re ordering millions of doses of a vaccine. The bad news? We don’t know whether it works or not. And that’s just the domestic pages. Look at the world news, the opinion columns, the business pages and the sports stories, and you might be tempted to go into terminal decline.

Not me though. There are plenty of small pleasures to relish. Golf to be played, cakes to be baked, squirrels to be ejected, books to be read, a video about the new excavations at Pompeii to be enjoyed, the company of my beloved and the knowledge that each day of health leads to another day. My blood pressure’s normal, the oximeter readings are good and all the people I know are still alive.

If anyone were to ask me for a prescription for coping with the pandemic, it would be to husband your bandwidth, keep an eye on the important stuff and take your comfort and joy when you can.

Oh, and if you have any spare hydroxychloroquine lying around, go out and find some giant hogweed and feed it to them. The Times recently claimed that they’re spreading almost as fast as the virus. With a bit of luck, they’ll start eradicating each other.

From → Media, Politics, UK, USA

11 Comments
  1. Fauxbama – The only American president worse than Trump. They had to invent one.

    (Its original, if you want to quote it)

    • Impressive!

    • deborah a moggio permalink

      A favorite, and a familiar voice. What a nice way to start my day.
      thanks for the permission to quote, I already have.

  2. Andrew Robinson permalink

    They’ll have taken away any red buttons or installed a “sane failsafe” surely….really……please say they have!

    DT is the only participant in our day-to-day who is 100% reliable …. excruciatingly dark “comedy”, at all times.

  3. deborah a moggio permalink

    “…and anti-viral treatments, for example.”
    YES! May Winter (the beast, not the season) be one source of our spring of hope!

    The one L lama, he’s a priest
    The two L llama, he’s a beast
    And I will bet my silk pyjama
    There isn’t any three L lllama.
    — O. Nash, to which a fire chief replied that occasionally
    his department responded to something like a “three L lllama.”

  4. deborah a moggio permalink

    BTW, interesting choice of flower. Can’t tell from the picture… Queen Anne’s lace or cow parsnip. The latter, of course, can be poisonous.

  5. deborah a moggio permalink

    Thanks. Was most impressed by its size when I first encountered it on the roadsides of Belgium. Luckily, never had the chance to stop and pick some before looking it up.

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