Covid19 continues to fill the news. A number of news items are important like the progress of the illness or the restrictions placed on the population. Occasionally, those bearing witness bring home the gravity of the situation. Like that woman talking about her husband who’d been rushed to hospital and who was battling with death. Or reports that underscore the key role of hitherto undervalued and underpaid actors like health workers. But much of what is broadcast, especially as the lockdown draws out, is empty. The interminable ministerial press conferences with the ballet of statistics, unseen graphs as proof, during which instructions and key information give way to carefully-crafted slogans if not disinformation. A large part of news broadcasts is speculation. What are the government going to do? How is the economic crisis going to work out? How will people react to easing the lockdown? Or critical, rightly or wrongly pointing to incoherences in strategy, revealing failings in government responses. Reports from local sources or abroad are often anecdotal, delivering impressions rather than analysis. Then there’s the advice given on what to do during lockdown to stave off boredom. It’s as if this media effervescence were trying to fill the airways so as to keep people’s attention on the pandemic. Faced with this obsession, some react with anxiety and despondency, others harbour doubts and there are those who get angry… but I can’t help wondering if harping on the pandemic is not in itself bad for people’s health.
This week the Federal Council announced three steps towards lifting the lockdown amid increased grumbling from those still barred from selling their wares. The traditional three-tier governing system in Switzerland (Confederation – Cantons – Communes) has come under strain with Cantons looking to the Federal Council for more precise directives. Meanwhile, people in Switzerland continue to applaud frontline workers every evening at 9pm. The American President incites riots in Democratic held states by encouraging his supporters to rage against the lockdown. At the same time, he continues using his daily Covid-19 briefings to canvas for the coming presidential election instead of informing the country on action taken to control the pandemic. He must have some hell of a bodyguard such is the anger and frustration against him. I wonder how much that costs the taxpayer. Convalescing in the Prime Minister’s country residence, Boris Johnson comes under increasing fire for dithering during the first weeks of the outbreak instead of responding with clear action. A comparison of death rates in Germany and the UK seems to indicate the extent of the UK’s shortcomings. The New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, gets nominated as ‘the most effective leader on the planet’. She has my vote! As for me, apart from my daily walk, discussions with my wife and posting my photos, I continue working on the Boy & Girl Saga, revising the first two books and finishing the new, third one, We Girls Show the Way.