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The Covid SECOND WAVE is coming. I can’t wait for governments to BLAME it all on you, me and the rest of the p*ssed-off public

Andrew Dickens
Andrew Dickens

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

The Covid SECOND WAVE is coming. I can’t wait for governments to BLAME it all on you, me and the rest of the p*ssed-off public
Amid clear signs of a resurgence in Covid-19, governments are easing lockdown restrictions. But don’t you worry – they’ve found a way to make sure they can point the finger of blame at the public.

Good news, everyone! Covid-19 is over! It’s gone, buggered off back to its lab or bat cave or wherever, defeated by a mighty, amicable and cohesive effort from governments across the globe.

That’s all I can infer from the way some governments are acting. Lockdowns are loosening faster than badly tied shoelaces. Here in the UK, our government is so confident that it has even stopped holding its daily press briefings. 

PM Boris Johnson has packed up his lectern, popped his cardboard slogan sign in the recycling and decided that all those stats on infections and deaths are pretty boring and... ooh, look, the pubs are opening! It’s your patriotic duty to drink in them! (Yes, he said that.) 

The man who asked the UK to summon the ‘Blitz spirit’ is now totally relaxed about something that has killed more British people than the Blitz.

The problem is, it hasn’t gone away. It’s still killing thousands of people a day. In fact, spikes are starting to crop up in locations that had managed to ‘flatten the curve’. Countries that had seemingly dodged a bullet are seeing infections rocket. Half the states in the US have seen increases in infections in the last two weeks, with Texas bouncing higher than a rodeo cowboy. Texas, whose governor Greg Abbott allowed his ‘stay home’ order to expire on 30 April, and whose bars and restaurants are now at least 50 percent full.

In short, the bogeyman of epidemiologists’ nightmares, the Second Wave, is almost certainly coming – or at least the first wave is swelling again. And when it does, don’t expect mea culpa from governments. They’re preparing to wash their hands of the consequences (for 20 seconds, of course) and point a nice clean finger of blame in the direction of you, me and the rest of the public who have borne the brunt of this really bloody annoying pandemic.

And here’s how they’ll get away with it: because mugs like me buy into their game.

They still have rules that we must obey in order to “do the right thing.” But they’re rules that are designed to fail by being deliberately vague and muddled. Pitch the rules of ‘Coronavirus: The Board Game’ to any manufacturer and you’ll be given a (tiny silver) boot out of the door. They’re a complex grid of households, hugging and mitigating measures less fathomable than the instructions you get with cheap Chinese goods from eBay, which have been so horribly mangled through Google Translate that reading them out loud six times will summon the Devil. 

So people either get confused by the rules or, quite understandably, make up their own rules – a bit like when you try to speed up Monopoly. I mean, even some of the people who wrote the main rules (coughCummingscough) have made up their own separate rules, so why shouldn’t we? I have. In fact, I now only know my own rules.

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They’ve also told us to use our ‘common sense’. Great. My sense is really common. I’ve not followed the rules exactly but, you know, it’s common sense, isn’t it? Unfortunately, no it’s not. Common sense just isn’t common. It’s more subjective than taste in wallpaper. Which means while some people think body-swerving strangers and holding their breath if a jogger passes them is sensible, others think licking the sweat off someone at an illegal rave or a quick game of Twister on a crowded beach is “probably fine.”

See? They’re telling us to do stuff that will keep us safe. It’s not very specific stuff (or it’s too specific) but it does act as a disclaimer. This is the small print in your motor insurance that says it only covers you for accidents if they happen on the seventh Sunday of a leap year and involve freshwater fish. 

It means that they can open up cinemas and pubs and do other things that I’m selfishly really happy about, but which will undoubtedly result in more infections as they create more opportunities for people to do what they want because, frankly, they don’t know what else to do. And they can say it’s our fault because we didn’t follow their crap rules or use their definition of ‘common sense’. 

They’ve even had what I’ll call the BLM Bonus. “Look at those idiots protesting in the streets,” they’re already saying. “It’s their fault, too.”

So why do this? Other than the obvious benefit of deflecting blame, it also means they get to reboot their failing economies– economies, we mustn’t forget, that had all the robustness and strength of a rice paper shed before Covid-19 came along. So delicate and feeble and unadaptable were their economic ethoses, policies and structures that they couldn’t handle being turned down to a medium heat for a few months. Which means they are desperate to start opening things up again. 

This, of course, feels great for anyone who’s going back to work or going back to the pub. But it’s also setting us up as fall guys when that second wave poop hits the fan and our leaders get to watch it slide off their Teflon onesies.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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