As of yesterday night at 11.30pm, I have freaked out. And it's all thanks to the UK government's ridiculous and irresponsible 'herd immunity' response to the crisis. If the government were doing rigorous testing and contact-tracing like all right-minded governments around the world (including Singapore) are, I wouldn't be worried about being amongst asymptomatic sufferers and catching it myself, and neither would I be worried about unwittingly passing it on to someone at risk: the elderly, someone with underlying health conditions. But apart from this, even though I'm fairly certain that I wouldn't suffer too badly from it given that I'm relatively young and have a pretty excellent immune system, I can't be entirely about this. No one can be. No one can know for sure what would or would not happen if someone like me, supposedly not at risk, caught the virus. And the last thing that I want to happen is to fall seriously ill in the bloody UK, and have to rely on the NHS. That would be my worst nightmare. All I have been hearing about in the news over the last four years or so that I've been living in this country is that the NHS is chronically under-staffed; and now apparently there are only 6,000 ventilators in the entire NHS. I have no interest whatsoever in adding to the burden of the already buckling-under-stress NHS; more importantly, I do not want to find myself in a situation where I'm seriously ill and there aren't enough equipment, and the NHS starts prioritising patients because they have to make a choice. They have to choose who to save. And I may be paranoid, I may be underestimating the professionalism of NHS professionals; but I can imagine a situation where I'm up against someone just like me and being in the same critical condition for scarce resources, and they choose the other person over me - because I'm not British. And since I do think that nationality has normative significance, I wouldn't really be able to begrduge them for it (not least because I might be dead).
I have been feeling rather down the whole day. I suppose I shouldn't have spent an hour reading about this herd immunity bullshit last night before I slept, for I had a nightmare in which I was more or less seriously ill with Covid-19, and I knew it, and I knew exactly how much time I had left to live. That was some harrowing bullshit. I spent my morning raging at the UK government, even while at gym class. The Body Pump class had a bit of a weird, subdued vibe; and noticeably absent was this elderly lady who usually stood at the top left corner of the studio. Core conditioning was good; the trainer said he was pleasantly surprised at the turn-out. So was I.
In between Body Pump and Core Conditioning, I requested to have my gym membership frozen. 'How long? the woman asked.
'I don't know, I'm doing this because of the virus. Can I suspend it indefinitely?'
'The longest is six months,' she said. 'Do you want to do that?'
So I arranged for that to be done. And I know it's utterly insignificant in the grander scheme of things, of people dying, but the thought of not going to my usual gym classes for the foreseeable future was (and still is) kind of sad.
I did, however, buy a pair of 2kg weights so at least I can work out at home. But I have no discipline whatsoever, and I give up too easily when I'm by myself with no one around me to push me (if only because I don't want to look unfit and weak in front of everyone. Not that anyone cares, but still). Since I don't want to lose whatever muscle I've managed to tone, though, I'll do my best.
And I think I feel a bit sad, too, because the severity of this pandemic has finally sunk in. And I can't help but wish I were back in Singapore with family and friends. I won't see friends, but with parents, so that if something bad does happen...but I can't imagine it would. I can't imagine it would. And neither could the loved ones of those who have died.
And perhaps the worst part is that we're not going to learn from this, or any of the diseases that have gripped the world in the past decades. The lesson, that is, that shit fucking happens when we treat animals as commodities, as things, as food, and not as beings in themselves. What this pandemic should alert in people is that we need a complete paradigm shift in the way we see animals. But of course, the carnists all over the world know only to condemn China's wild life trade, as if there's any morally relevant difference between eating a bat or pangolin or whatever, and eating a cow or a pig.
Anyway, if I keep going on about this, I'm never going to stop. So it is with a heavy heart that I am going to take a shower and go to bed (and hopefully finally finish Anna Burns' Milkman, which I've been struggling to get through for two weeks now, therefore slowing down my reading progress that was going along steadily).
Oh, and I have to add: This probably wasn't the best year to read two post-apocalyptic novels - Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, and Cormac McCarthy's The Road. That's all.