It is 08.00 am on Friday 11 December 2020, one hundred and two days from the start of the school year.
The cheery things to report
It is now over 100 days since school started and mum and dad can declare that the family is still safe and well – an anecdotal testimony that they must be doing something right. They are now enjoying the mental boost this little victory has generated. Our primary school staff also deserve a little pat on the back for the contribution they have made to this first measure of success.
Every TV channel has geared up and gone crazy. The first week was just a warm-up. The joyful hyperhype is being pumped out morning, noon and night, (and presumably overnight as well, but some of us are trying to catch a bit sleep). The story is impossible to avoid, the only way is to switch off the TV. And lots of smiley, happy faces taking part in the videos of the first humans to be blessed with the jab in the first wave of the vaccination campaign. Oh, joy, joy and more joy!
The not-so-cheery thing to report
But why, why, oh why, are they having to try so hard to convince us all to line up for the jab?
Last week the news was about the three American Presidents planning to be vaccinated in public to demonstrate their faith in the vaccine. This week, it is the turn of the CEO of Pfizer. Interviewed on TV, and, after affirming that there have been ‘no short-cuts’ in the development of the vaccine, and then describing how his teams are managing the complex logistics involved in vaccine distribution, he then announced his own intention to be vaccinated in public in order to reassure you, me and everybody else in the world that the vaccine is safe and effective.
Mum and dad’s assessment: As staunch supporters of pro-vaccination, all mum and dad are looking for is the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ information so they can make all the necessary decisions about Covid 19 vaccine arguments and choice of vaccine. The hype surrounding the first vaccine is more than just celebration of a critical event in the life of the pandemic. It emphasises ‘What is it that they are not telling us?’ This week just reinforces their view that ‘the whole vaccine-fest hyperhype is, presently at least, simply a ‘warp speed’ melange of: personality persuaders; repetitive ‘force fed’ sound bites of headline information that cannot be trusted at face value; and all doused in a super-sweet, unctuous, media sauce to warm the cockles of your heart’. And, with the one glaringly obvious missing key ingredient – transparency.
Their conclusion: This is caviar to the anti-vaccers! Their best Christmas present ever!
The French lockdown, 42 days on?
As of 15 December, most lockdown restrictions will be lifted. Here are the summary numbers for the national picture for this year, and the daily new Covid 19 cases and deaths in week 6 of lockdown, as at 11 December:
|Weekly national summary||Covid 19 cases||Covid 19 deaths|
|3 Jan to 27 Nov||2,131,376||50,259|
|3 Jan to 04 Dec||2,217,873||53,779|
|3 Jan to 11 Dec||2,283,752||56,280|
Mum and dad’s assessment of the numbers: Their assessment stays the same – the additional new cases and new deaths, accumulated in only six weeks, are still really scary. And, the human costs and the associated misery will get worse again. How can they not get worse, when the ‘men-in-charge’ have given everyone permission to:
And meanwhile: The family plans for enjoying the isolated but delicious, well-earned two week break are complete. Bring it on!
Finally, after 102 days of exposure to their primary school, are Mum and Dad still coping?:
Like everybody else in today’s mad, new, hopefully temporary, Covid 19 infested world, we find it very, very difficult to cope at times. Most days, even the littlest, most nonsensical issue can instantaneously flick into a major pseudo-drama for a few minutes, with crazy accusations flying around like a swarm of stinging wasps. There is a very short burst of ultra-stress, when the blood boils over, then we feel ashamed, then we feel silly, then we laugh, then we go back to normal and then we promise to try and not get snarled up in nonsense again.
But, it always happens again. The trigger events are endless. The common factors?: each incident is very, very unimportant; each involves the unnecessary creation of some kind of very annoying additional work (not another task! – give me a break – we have more than enough to do each day, just in our Covid protection programme); each involves not being able to accept unnecessary untidiness (particularly from Child’s, at times, overwhelming physical expression of her subliminal Covid 19 frustrations – e.g. all the toys thrown to the four winds, her bed totally demolished and distributed around her bedroom –but this is my physical training, dad!)
There is only one really important subject that causes us a bit of serious conflagration – when one of us breaches our agreed Covid 19 rules, (like everyone else we are only human!). That usually only happens from exhaustion, the result of lack of sleep, either due to Child’s night life (typically her wake-up call of ‘I’m hungry’ at 3 am!), or too many pees in the night (we’re no spring chickens with super-fit bladders anymore!). So, YES, we have lots of little blips of background stress that fizz up, then dissolve. The BIG issues that could, if we let them, really piss us off and tip us over the edge stress-wise, are the core elements of the pandemic itself, namely:
All the above BIG issues are outside of our control. We accepted very early on that we could do absolutely nothing about them, so set about simply to physically and mentally isolate ourselves from them all as much as possible. We developed our own multi-layered approach, which has stood us well so far and allowed us to seriously protect our stress levels. Our approach comprises lots of indirect methods and one direct method: INDIRECTLY by:
AND DIRECTLY by: maintaining a last line of a simple evidence-based bodily defence – hot salt water gargles and salt nasal spray to disinfect our throats and noses twice a day (seriously uplifting and reassuring)
Mum and dad’s conclusion:
Yes, we have real confidence in our range of protective mechanisms and a high degree of compliance, (despite the boring, mind-numbing daily grind of the precise, repetitive preparation and delivery of a large number of tasks). The satisfaction that it gives enables us to cope very well with all the ups and downs, particularly at this point when we predict that we are all heading for another post-Christmas and New Year downer.
By John Saunders
World Health Communication Associates (WHCA) & INSPIRIT Creatives UG NGO,
MediaWise and MediaFocusUK
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