As I See It: Catherine Drea’s fortnightly column as published in the Waterford News & Star
I’VE noticed at the moment that I’m often close to a major rant when it comes to any number of subjects. I’ve checked this with other lockdowners and many of us are in the same boat. I could recite chapter and verse on whether or not to mow the verges and roundabouts of the city. I could discuss at length pedestrianising the Prom in Tramore. Or maybe the burning of the forest and the pile of beer cans left behind by party goers at Carrigavantry?
You name it, after months in isolation, most of us could rant for Ireland on any number of topics.
It’s like the snoozing brain cells are suddenly firing off. Jaded from too much Netflix and home cooking, suddenly light bulbs are flashing between the lobes and without a by or leave the mouth seems to take off. I’m not one for ranting by nature, but my unfortunate loved ones will vouch that I am getting very good at it!
One of my pet topics for a rant at the moment is Covid-19 denial. It’s a new thing for me as I’ve only come across it in the real world very recently. Don’t for one minute think that “it’s only a bad flu” is reserved for Americans! No, Covid-19 denial is alive and well in the newly reopened pubs and eating houses all over Ireland.
‘What will it take to finally get everyone on board? I dread to think it would take any more than what we are already dealing with.’
“Sure it’s all fake news. Think we should be listening more to Trump. Think he’s right about this,” says Paddy from Cork on Morning Ireland.
How can it be that so many people still think Covid-19 is some kind of spoof? Since the very beginning, and following the science and the experts it was clear that this would be a dangerous dose. Why then do so many people still balk at protecting themselves and others? Why won’t people wear a mask at the very least?
I was wandering along on my usual walk when I bumped into my very first Covid-19 denier. An old pal, a nature lover and a great photographer, he was studying sparrow hawks and their young as he ambled along. We had a good old chat about this and that and eventually asked if he was still anxious about the virus.
“Not at ALL,” says he “I think it’s all a Facebook scam, for God’s sake, etc.” I admit I couldn’t altogether follow the arguments. Because immediately those few remaining brain cells lit up, it most certainly is NOT A SCAM! And then, out of my mouth came: “It’s no scam, our Mum died of the virus on April 18th.”
The poor man got an awful shock. “Oh no,” he said, clutching his heart. I almost felt sorry I had said it. But he quickly moved to the next argument that again, I am not used to hearing. “But she probably had an underlying condition, did she? It’s all old people getting it and dying isn’t it? In general, it’s much like a flu. No?”
My now giddy brain heard this differently. I heard: older people are disposable. That maybe they don’t count. But my actual mouth said calmly: “Well no, it’s not just older people. Younger people get it too. Especially now in Ireland a lot of the new cases are amongst younger people. Some get a very bad dose. Did you see that it takes about eight people to put a patient on a respirator? Or that they have to use dialysis as a treatment to oxygenate the blood? You know people can get very ill with it.”
“Well you see, I don’t have a TV or a radio,” he pronounces. Maybe for some people staying in the dark is the only way to cope?
I’m not sure if this little chat had any impact at all. He’s a lovely man and of course he will make up his own mind about whether it’s all a Facebook scam or not. Those of us who know someone who died or was very ill, live in a totally different reality. I know three who died. Two elderly people and the son of a friend who was in his 40s with no underlying conditions.
Luckily those who led us through this pandemic had other means of responding besides shrugging their shoulders and saying: “Ah sure it’s only an old flu.”
Why are our responses so different? There are people like rabbits in the headlights when faced with a crisis; think Chernobyl, the Titanic, the Twin Towers. There are others, even decision makers and experts, who hold tight and simply hope for the best. Some rant or run. The Covid-19 deniers, pretend it’s not happening at all.
What will it take to finally get everyone on board? I dread to think it would take any more than what we are already dealing with.