Mar 1, 2020: Corona

The spread of the Corona virus continues. More people in more countries are getting it. The UK is up to 35 cases, countless people have been tested and, most importantly, so people who are either famous or famous adjacent have been tested for it. So it bubbles up in the news more because if shit happens to famous people… ooof, it’s a game changer.

The problem with it is, though, is that the media is – and this will come as a shock – whipping everything up into a frenzy.

People die of flu every year. Quite a lot of people, in fact. But it doesn’t get reported. But now there’s a strain of flu that’s got a bit more oomph about it, we’re all over that. There’s talk of cutting off towns and cities if there are outbreaks. It’s essentially just flu.

And then there’s the public. Oh god the public. So, you can be in a place and someone in that place becomes ill. They are tested. They turn out to have the virus. A quarantine is placed. You then, as a member of the public, piss and moan about being in this place, under quarantine. You whinge and whine and complain. And if you’re on a cruise and have become viral (in an internet sense, not a germ-ridden sense) you start asking Richard Branson to fly you home because it’s just all become terribly inconvenient to have to stay where you are.

This is how zombie plagues will spread. It’ll start and someone there will be a bit put out (and they’ll be British, because we as a nation are the most adept at being put out) about the whole thing and so they’ll just head off anyway. And then the next thing you know, everyone has it.

But the biggest thing that is driving me up the wall is that we appear to need to be told to wash our hands.

As a nation we are being told everywhere – Facebook’s even telling us, so that there’s a chance we spot that in and amongst all the fake news that’ll be in there about someone’s nan’s cousin’s best friend’s aunt who coughed and died. Bus stops are telling us to wash our hands. The automated displays are telling us to go online and look up how to wash our hands.

And Fern Britton (who, incidentally, people thought had died of the virus because they thought when a news story says “first Briton dies” it actually said “Fern Britton dies”) is a passionate campaigner (according to some newspaper) of washing your hands, urging the BBC and ITV to show viewers how to do it.

You don’t need Fern Britton to tell you how to do it. Obviously if you think you’re entitled to it, you could ask Richard Branson to come and wash your hands for you. You don’t need a bus stop to tell you. Or Facebook. Or posters and leaflets and chuff knows what else.

It’s just washing your fucking hands, people.

It’s not rocket science.