8 April 2020. Too much time frittered on social media. So much of it so full of bigotry and ignorance. Conspiracy theories everywhere. I saw one sad comment from the US that because all the media is polarised she doesn’t know whether to believe the virus exists or not. And then doesn’t know how to respond to it because all the advice is politicised. Sadly even news about the hunt for a vaccine has been corrupted by conspiracy theorists claiming nanotechnology will be introduced into humans – because Bill Gates is funding research. Then there’s a major row about racism and genocide: because European doctors have suggested that the vaccine be used first in Africa. Great protests about ‘guinea pigs’ – nothing about the appalling conditions in townships and refugee camps without running water or sanitation, thousands of people crammed together.
Too much time on social media and dodgy news-feeds. By the end of the day I was totally depressed about the future of employment, whether the banks could survive, inflation, deflation, pensions lost, facing an old age in poverty after a life-time of work. All unthinkable just three weeks ago. Difficulty sleeping.
All over the country there are people facing the same uncertainties – most of them with much more reason to be worried than me. Sitting at my open window I heard a conversation in the street outside. Four of my neighbours had each come out into the sunshine and were chatting – all standing more than two meters apart so they spoke quite loudly. One woman’s chief sorrow was that she could not hug her son when he came to deliver a parcel. Another pointed out that the air is clearer and fresher without cars, and that you can hear the birds singing. All agreed. Then all agreed that the main thing they had noticed was that everyone was kinder. People smile in the street. People are patient. People are helping each other.
Maybe the new world order won’t be so bad, but I can’t help hoping it will also be financially stable.
This is my personal Mass Observation blog. I invite anyone to join in to create a group record of this important period in our history as we face the COVID-19 pandemic.
© Clare Sargent