With all this talk/gossip/down right scare mongering to do with the corona virus, my brain has gone off on a tangent again (I know. I’ve tried to stop it, but it’s having none of it! Sorry!).
The word itself – Corona – of course means many things.
It is – perhaps more famously now than ever – a brand of Mexican lager. No. You can’t catch the virus from drinking it, though apparently this was a thing in the US!.
It is also the word used to describe the circle of light seen behind something – like the sliver of Sun visible behind the Moon during an eclipse.
The word itself ultimately comes from the Latin – Corona meant a crown or a garland, especially one bestowed for military service. Think the laurel leaf crown usually seen on representations of Caesar and you’ll get the idea.
Where I’m from – a small mining community in South East Northumberland, we’re prone to using Geordie colloquialisms. And if a Geordie says “I’m going to crown you!” it usually means “I’m going to hit you about the head!”
Actually – a Geordie would say “I’m ganna croon yee!”, but you get the idea!
I have decided that this Geordie turn of phrase can be the only logical explanation for the ridiculous behaviours being exhibited by people over this. Scare mongering. Panic buying. Down right rudeness. It seems to me that everyones sense of propriety has gone out of the window.
And according to Headway, the UK based Brain Injury Association, these behaviours can be symptomatic of a brain injury.
They list the most common symptoms as a result of head trauma as follows;
Dis-inhibition – or loss of control over behaviour
Impulsiveness – speaking or acting without thinking about the consequences of behaviour
Obsessiveness – becoming fixated on certain thoughts
Irritability/Aggression – impatient and intolerant with others
Apathy/Loss of Initiative – becoming passive to situations around us
Egocentricity – not considering the feelings/needs of others.
Now you tell me that we’re not seeing all of these symptoms in news reports up and down the country….
Dis-inhibition is being shown by people fighting each other for the last bottle of hand sanitizing gel on the shelf.
Impulsiveness being shown by all of us who have reposted whatever pops up on social media without first verifying the authenticity of its data.
Obsessiveness being shown by those who have gone as far as not ordering from their local Chinese takeaway since the virus was mentioned, because it apparently started in China.
Irritability/Aggression is shown by those determined to get those last precious toilet rolls from the store, no matter what.
Apathy/Loss of initiative is shown by all of us when we don’t bother to fact check simple statistics before mindlessly sharing, and scaring.
Egocentricity is being demonstrated time and again by all of the above. Spreading harmful mistruths which lead to the panic buying situation, leaves those who need the anti bacs and sanitizers on a day to day basis with no form of defense against even the common cold. People with already compromised immune systems, like those with an auto immune disease, or anyone undergoing cancer treatment. Newborns who have not yet had the chance to build up an immunity. In fact any child under the age of 8 does not have full immunity yet!
These people have being using all of those things that have now sold out in most stores for months, or in some cases years, just to be able to function day to day without becoming ill.
I doubt that anyone who has bought into the whole “corona virus is going to kill us all” headline thought of that when they dashed up to Boots on a marathon shopping spree! And don’t get me started on the reports of people going into hospitals and ripping the dispensers from the walls!
And did anyone stop to think what affect this is having on the livelihood of those who own and run Chinese takeaways and restaurants? I understand that no one has to buy their Friday night treat from a take away, but we have all being doing it. To have your customer base stop buying from you en mass must be devastating! Takings down week on week, all because of mass hysteria over a situation which could so easily be managed.
I get that people are worried.
It really is okay to be worried when a new strain of any disease is first discovered. We all know that the human body takes time to develop defenses against these things. We all know that it takes scientists time to develop vaccines against the same, or to devise the best treatment plan in order to contain the situation.
It is not okay to jump on the band wagon and forget about others and how our own actions may be affecting them.
What is okay is to listen to the news reports, and check out anything that doesn’t seem right to you, or that you don’t understand. The NHS has set up information pages on their website that are informative and easy to understand. As does the World Health Organisation. Don’t get all upset and offended because your holiday has had to be postponed until this is all settled. A tan definitely looks better on someone who is NOT lying in a hospital bed!
Very few of us are actually at high risk from this. We need to be considering those of us who may be, and putting them first.
So please remember that a cough and a sniffle will probably NOT be the corona virus, and will probably just be a cough and a sniffle. But also please remember to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, preferably with a tissue that can be disposed of hygienically, and then WASH YOUR HANDS!