If you try to fathom what’s going on at any time, it can be a challenge working out the logic behind what you’re seeing. So, a couple of COVID-19-related things passed my eyes in recent days and made me go “What?”
During the pandemic you’d not expect doctors and medical services to be less in demand, yet I read that many family practices are having to close their offices (‘surgeries’ in the UK) 🤔😳 In part, there’s a lack of patients because people are isolating through fear COVID-19 spread, or doctors are closing practices for fear of the risk of spread.
In some jurisdictions, it’s also become an issue of funding; not necessarily cuts, but some reprioritization and in the case of the USA financial benefits that come from how illnesses and deaths are categorized. Simply put, ‘COVID-19-related’ means more money.
Closing of medical facilities, however, may also open opportunities for medical practices in other forms, eg becoming a ‘locum’:
So, the reconfiguration of economies and work is taking place in many areas.
The surge in home-preparation of food has resulted in shortages of canning supplies, price hikes are now being seen in some areas—simple supply and demand, mainly. (For my sins, I have an ample supply of sealable jars from keeping those from previous use and begging for them in the past.)
A major headache being seen worldwide is getting people to apply a simple set of health protocols—wearing masks, keeping distance, and hand sanitizing. What’s been clear is that most people have gotten the messages about how COVID-19 spreads and how that spread can be minimized. But, either because personal resistance is based on individual risk assessments that the virus will not be harmful or that the person concerned wont be a carrier/spreader, people are rule-breaking. Now, this is happening even when the consequences are heavy and quickly applied.
We’ve seen or heard or read of many egregious cases involving ‘celebrities’, the most recent of which to hit my synapses was two young English professional footballers (Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood), who invited women into the team hotel during a tournament in Iceland. Lots of breaches.
Quite simply, what were they thinking? After team talks and national warnings by the Icelandic authorities? Now, lots of damage control—of image, of other players, of reputations, maybe even careers down the tube. For what? A bit of pokey? Youthful exuberance? Meet stark reality. 🤔😳
We get to cast our judgement more on those who have many privileges and seem all too ready to abuse them. So, the landscape of faux pas has included senior health officials!!!!
As the report above shows, these breaches have been going on from almost the get-go. So, any talk about ‘fatigue’ with applying rules and protocols should get shoved right back from where they came. 😦
Most of us have seen images of masses of people at beaches, by rivers, in parks, in street raves, etc, clinging together, without masks and if they had been sanitized at the outset, the effectiveness of that has long gone. We’ve had plenty of local incidents in Jamaica, most notably of late, Usain Bolt’s birthday bash—which, we now learn was dutifully sanctioned with an entertainment licence. Ironically, a Jamaican-British football teammate (Raheem Sterling) of the Icelandic rompers was present at that event, along with another Jamaican footballer playing in Germany (Leon Bailey). Whether they broke our local 14-day quarantine rules is still—-really?—being determined. But, the question has to be what part of ‘compromising behaviour’ isn’t understood? Elite athletes are not like other humans, at their peak, but they better wise up to how fragile their ‘skills’ and ‘livelihoods’ can be.
Which brings me to where we are in Jamaica. The government has decided to try to address the existence of ‘community transmission’ by tightening restrictions from September 8 through to September 23: mainly, longer curfews, stay-at-home orders for vulnerable groups (over-70s), encouraging ‘work from home’ provisions, limiting congregating etc., and trying to apply more strictly mask-wearing, with threats of prosecution.
By contrast, the UK, one of many countries that have seen in recent weeks and month a sharp escalation of positive cases (around 3,000 a day for three consecutive days) and deaths, has gone to the heart of family life, by limiting congregating to no more than 6 people (from the current maximum of 30—indoors and outdoors—from next Monday.
Rumours are that nighttime curfew may be added to that mix.
But, the worldwide problems we see in getting adherence to health protocols may (just) be good old ‘cognitive dissonance’—a person holds contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values, and is typically experienced as psychological stress when they participate in an action that goes against one or more of them:
The stresses may not be as visible to us, daily, but we are seeing that ‘coping’ is talking on some strange forms.
It’s also a display of something well-known in social sciences that once behaviour is under scrutiny, it changes to avoid scrutiny; this often happens with ‘corrective’ policies that lead to a raft of circumventing actions, legal if loopholes exist, or illegal. The urge to continue with ‘bad’ behaviour is strong.
The resistance behaviour has taken on political dimensions in many places, most notably, the US, but swelling discontent has also reared its head in the UK—both these countries are odd because they’ve been amongst the worst in applying such protocols; but maybe the backlash is coming from a different and lower base of initial acceptance. I was intrigued to see footage of masked people ripping off their masks to ‘rescue’ someone who was being arrested for not wearing a mask.
In this and other cases, resistance is framed as ‘liberty’.
So, going forward, it’s worth looking to see if desire for liberty overpowers the desire to survive.