Plague Diary: Parallel Worlds
The cognitive dissonance continues. Glasgow Live reports that Scotland may have no available hospital beds in a matter of days, that new restrictions are “inevitable”, and that Glasgow has 34 covid hotspots.
But, when I put on two masks and ventured outside this morning, I walked through a world in which none of this is happening, and where more people are unmasked than masked — even in lifts.
While it’s easy to blame individuals for such recklessness, the culprit is the Scottish government. A year ago, Nicola Sturgeon asked us to “perhaps think” about taking precautions. Mere thinking, of course, was not enough. The British Medical Journal and The Health Service Journal warned that the government was making an error that would “cost many lives,” and it did. People died, while other people legally danced unmasked in clubs.
Last week, Ms Sturgeon “strongly urged” us to postpone Christmas parties.
How can the Scottish government expect people to take this plague seriously when all we get is suggestions, not rules? We are not “strongly urged” not to drive drunk; we are banned from doing so. We are not “strongly urged” to wear seat belts, or to observe speed limits; we are required to do so. But, in its abdication of leadership in the pandemic, the government is allowing us to choose which world to live in, the real world or a fantasy one. The real world — in which a new variant of a lethal virus is, in the words of Ms Sturgeon, like “a tsunami” — will win, and people from the fantasy world will continue to sicken and die.