Coronavirus: throwing the 95% under a bus to save the 5%

Dr Phil Hammond says it best in Private Eye.

Brutally put, 100 percent of us are making sacrifices to save 5 percent of us (or less). Children are being harmed to save adults; the poor are being harmed more than the rich; and some people have become so conditioned to “stay at home” that not even a medical emergency will tempt them to seek help.

The only bit I’d quibble with is “brutally”.

It’s not brutal to state the obvious.

Pandemics like Covid come round every few dozen years. They kill tens of thousands; mostly those both elderly and frail, for whom death was already a more or less imminent inevitability rather than in any meaningful sense a tragedy.

I say that as someone with at most another 10 years before I’ll be a pretty good bet to be a victim of any similar pandemic.

Even the manner of Covid deaths wasn’t particularly awful for everyone. One GP working in care homes, while highly critical of the handling of the pandemic in Britain, wrote:

The deaths were strange, quick. One nurse watched four patients develop exactly the same symptoms. A fall, then strange lapses of consciousness, then their breathing rate going up and their oxygen levels falling. The patients were remarkably calm, not distressed. Then they died.

Way to go if you ask me. I’d gladly take it over the alternative of years and years of undignified, helpless, possibly utterly ga-ga dependence, though your mileage may vary.

Yes, there’s been a small proportion of actual instances of younger, completely healthy lives cut tragically short by Covid. But they are the exception.

The actual tragedy of coronavirus will come next. An accelerated economic depression the likes of which none of us can imagine. Because nothing so severe has happened here since the 19th century.

Not just the gilt going from the gingerbread, but the ginger as well. And, for many millions thrown out of work or into precarious employment, no bread either.

The irony is that the people who’ve been shouting the loudest for longer lockdown, and accusing dissenters of “putting the economy before lives” (as if one can separate the two), will be among the angriest turkeys when the economic Christmas they’ve been unwittingly voting for arrives in the late summer.

I’m not saying that everything would have been hunky dory in the economy without the concerted overreaction of most Western states to Covid-19.

Degrowth due to diminished net energy input was already eating away at ordinary people’s real wealth behind the now-disintegrating curtain of central bank shenanigans. The excessive response to Covid has simply recklessly or – surely not? – deliberately accelerated the process by several years.

When people’s children lose their jobs, and their grandchildren lose out to better-off friends, the sentiment behind sanctimonious statements to the effect that not even the functionally dying should be permitted to die will be painfully exposed.

We’re dying from the moment we are born.

What counts is livelihoods. As we’re all going to find out.

Featured image by Aimee Vogelsang on Unsplash.