Never has a virus been so oversold, writes Lionel Shriver of The Spectator. She writes abridged:
The equally novel, equally infectious Asian flu of 1957 had commensurate fatalities in Britain: scaled up for today’s population, the equivalent of 42,000, while the UK’s (statistically flawed) COVID death total now stands at 46,000. Globally, the Asian flu was vastly more lethal, causing between two and four million deaths. The Hong Kong flu of 1968-69 also slew up to four million people worldwide, including 80,000 Britons. Yet in both instances, life went on.
What is unprecedented: never has a virus been so oversold. Why, I’d like to sign on with COVID’s agent? What a publicity budget.
When I was a kid, there was no MMR vaccine, and children were expected to get measles, mumps, chickenpox and rubella as a matter of course. I obligingly contracted these diseases, which were unpleasant and — I now realize — far more dangerous than my parents’ blitheness would suggest.
Naturally, I’ve also contracted flu and colds throughout my life, and I’ve been resigned to the fact that these disagreeable ailments were due to contact with other people.
I don’t think it’s going to be any different next summer. Google, for example, has already advised its employees to work from home for the next 12 months.
There will be a new contagion, too, and a new one after that. How many times can you send the national debt soaring, devastate small business, paralyze government services — including healthcare — and cancel for months on end the civil liberties of an erstwhile ‘free people.
This article was originally published in The Spectator’s UK magazine.