Summer is making its presence felt and now feels like the right to time to come out of hibernation. Who wants to be cooped up indoors when the sun shines? That's so dull.
But we're still in the middle of a shockingly contagious, undeniably deadly global pandemic, and that fact doesn't change because you're bored.
So I'm writing this column this week for all the pub goers and sun-seekers who started having impromptu street parties with and without masks outside the few bars that unwisely started reopening as if they were all unaware or unconcerned about the lethal plague that is still raging all around us.
You want your old life back. I understand. In the old days (that is, three months ago) people used to go to bars all the time. Once there they would talk to both friends and strangers, they would take the pulse of the city and hear all the news. Crucially, they got out of their own houses, where the walls had been quietly closing in.
Your old life isn't coming back anytime soon though. You really need to grasp this.
If you've done any reading about the coronavirus at all you should know that this virus is still quite baffling to medical researchers. It keeps finding remarkably effective ways to transmit and infect (through the eyes too, we have just learned) so that even if you do recover from it, the damage it can do to your system may be life-long and life-altering.
That's at least worth a second thought before you head out to the pub or park isn't it? Is your cold pint of Stella really worth an extended hospital stay and a bout of catastrophic organ failure? Is your paddle worth an amputation? If you already know that just one person with coronavirus can infect hundreds at a social gathering, are you still going to go ahead?
The UK #coronavirus related death toll now stands at 62,000 people. 67,000 civilians were killed in the UK during World War 2.— James Melville (@JamesMelville) May 18, 2020
It's been clear for decades that we can all live in different informational universes now. Viewers of MSNBC are hearing about the shocking lack of a national plan of testing and tracing to contain the virus but viewers of Fox News are being told they're being brutally oppressed by Big Brother because their governor has said its still not safe to visit a nail salon.
So pay your ticket and take your journey. This balkanized new universe plays out on our streets too. Most people wear masks in public but some people still pointedly do not, as if they have ingested the president's claim that this virus is a hoax.
At least 100,000 Americans have died of it now. But the real number of fatalities is certain to be higher because, just as the administration has made a mess of testing and tracing, they have made an intentional mess of the body count.
90,000 deaths is the equivalent of a 737 airplane crash every single day for 14 months. https://t.co/5Ar1VN91sm— Zach Wahls (@ZachWahls) May 19, 2020
You can tell a lot about a person, their views and outlook, by the trouble they take or don't take to protect themselves and the people they encounter now. There have been articles about men who refuse to wear a face mask because they think it makes them look weak. But tell that to the patients gasping for air in the COVID-19 wards.
There have even been stories about people publicly protesting that this whole pandemic was created to make Trump look bad as if a virus cares who's president or what their political outlook is.
Nevertheless, these selfish protestors have taken to the streets, to wave their flags and claim they are being illegally discriminated against, as they force police and emergency services to risk their own lives just to contain them (the protestors rarely wear masks and they think COVID-19 is something that only happens to other people).
COVID-19 Doctor: Do you have any questions?
Me: After two months, I still can’t exert myself without getting a congested chest for five days. I’d like to know if this is just a slow recovery or long-term damage so I can plan my life accordingly.
Doctor: We still don’t know.— John Marble (@JHMarble) May 14, 2020
The good news is that some vaccine trials actually look promising this week. The bad news is that there is still no cure and the medicines they are testing won't be available until spring 2021 at the earliest. There is still potential horror ahead in the fall and winter in other words, and the prospects are being made worse by the selfishness of some people who cannot commit to protecting themselves or the people they meet.
Pandemics don't end because you've personally had enough of staying in. Pandemics only end when science combats the disease that is trying to attack us.
When you stand around drinking on the street surrounded by other people doing likewise you are making yourself a target, but worse you are making others an unwitting target too.
Until this thing is cured or contained acting like you have your old life back and living the way you used to is just about the least patriotic and most selfish thing you could do.