Stop praising the government for their incompetence

Source: Mike Gimelfarb (via Wikimedia Commons)

By Tomos Lloyd

It has been just shy of five months since the coronavirus outbreak was identified in Wuhan, China. By the 31st of January, it had reached Italy and Spain, and by the 22nd of February, Italy had announced a new decree to quarantine over 50,000 people in 11 different areas.

Just three months after the discovery, the United Kingdom implemented a total of zero precautionary mechanisms. The disaster in China, Italy, and Spain had not raised the alarm bells and routine remained unfettered.

As expected, the virus outbreak emerged in the UK on the 28th of February, although a handful of British citizens were diagnosed with the virus whilst abroad prior to this.

Given the newfound praise directed at the government, it is, of course, reassuring to know that the government’s response was immediate and effective. Except, there was no response.

No restrictions and no precautions were implemented, beyond a few video guides teaching the general public how to wash their hands, serving as a metaphorical plaster on the wound of a nation.

In fact, it was not until the 23rd of March, almost an entire month since the first emergence of the outbreak in the UK, that the government made any significant announcement.

Boris Johnson’s pre-written speech, in addition to a mighty vernacular and utmost professionalism, in announcing the coronavirus restrictions, resulted in public opinion being swayed in a manner that felt eerie, at the very least.

To put it into context, 6,650 Britons tested positive for the virus by the time the new policy was effected, with 335 dead. 

“I fail to see how the man proudly admitting to shaking hands with hundreds of people amidst the outbreak, then falling ill, is of any surprise”

Despite this, it seems that overnight the nation had forgotten. It had forgotten about the government’s plan to implement a herd immunity policy, which would sacrifice the lives of millions of people for the sake of being able to reopen the economy early. It had forgotten that this policy was not empirically sound, and in fact, the data suggested that it was demonstrably foolish. 

“Go forth,” he shouted from the rear.

Johnson was moved to the intensive care unit on the 7th of April following the worsening of his virus symptoms. This news came as a shock to many. Although, I fail to see how the man proudly admitting to shaking hands with hundreds of people amidst the outbreak, then falling ill, is of any surprise. This news brought with it a variety of Facebook and Twitter threads asking the public to show respect to the Prime Minister.

Matt Hancock’s suggestion that NHS staff have been overusing personal protective equipment was met with severe criticism; however, this anger was quickly diminished by the upcoming NHS applause. 

Those already in support of Johnson and his cabinet have had their fondness heightened, and those in the centre; the swing voters, and the liberals, now see a fearless man continuing to lead the country even in the face of danger.   

Millions of people have consumed enough media to overlook that the government’s incompetence has led to the deaths of thousands of people. Of course, I do not blame the public. Manufactured consent is the tool used to silence the cries of those that suffer the most.

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