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It's a strange world we're living in just now

Gordon Ansell Opinion, Coronavirus, Society 585 words.

It's a strange world we're living in just now. We're all sat around socially distancing from others and trying to avoid this coronavirus malarkey. As far as I understand it, it's a fairly mild illness if you're not in an at-risk group and certainly milder than standard flu. Flu, it seems, would have an equal or worse fatality rate if it wasn't for the flu jab. The problem is we don't have an antiviral for COVID-19.

Ultimately the solution is to develop an antiviral, but what do we do in the interim?

I'm guessing that ideally it would be best for all the healthy people to catch the virus and thus build up this so-called herd immunity. The problem is that the more healthy people that get it, the more at-risk people they'd pass it on to. It's just a numbers game. Then there's the resource problem. Of the healthy people that get it, there'll be a tiny percentage that will react badly to it and will need hospitalisation. Add in the at-risk people who get it too and the NHS would be stretched to breaking point.

Hence we're all practising social distancing to, as they say, flatten the curve and give the NHS time to deal with things.

The thing is, what we're currently doing is unlikely to get rid of the virus, in the same way we can't get rid of the standard flu virus. All we're doing is buying time. That's okay for now because it's all we can do until somebody comes up with an antiviral.

I dread to think what'll be left of the country when all this is over. The economic effects will be severe and far-reaching. The government is dishing out money hither and tither to lessen the economic effects — and so it must — but ultimately tax-payers will pick up the bill and I can only see a deep recession following hot on the heels of COVID-19.

I'm not impressed with the banks. They've made some concessions but things like a 'mortgage holiday' aren't much help in the long term. The mortgage still has to be paid at some point, possibly in the midst of the post-coronavirus recession. It would be far more useful if the banks simply wrote off three months of mortgage payments. Let's face it, they owe us. Tax-payers bailed them out in the late 2000s and suffered living through a recession as a result of that. The banks should be returning the favour now.

The situation is a test of character and, sadly, a lot of the greedy food hoarders have failed miserably. I'd like to bet they've over-bought on perishables and had to chuck a lot of them out too. I despair of such people. Greed and selfishness are not the qualities one hopes to see coming to the surface in a time of crisis. This is going to be a long haul so just buy what you need and have some consideration for others.

Personally, I'm an anti-social hermit by nature so self-isolation doesn't bother me unduly. Bizarrely, though, I'll probably be out more as a result of the virus than I otherwise would be. For one thing, in normal times I have my shopping delivered but it doesn't feel right to do that now. I'll leave the increasingly rare delivery slots for those at-risk, self-isolating or without transport and I'll brave the shops manually from now on.

Things are grim and we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation that affects the entire world. Good luck to all.