The social media reflect the clear stages we have been through and continue to experience as the coronavirus restrictions change from the earlier days of strict lockdown or isolation guidelines to the present situation in which some easing is taking place in the interests of the economy and, perhaps, sanity.
Stage 1 was definitely the jokes. They came thick and fast and were on all platforms that I know of – Facebook,Tiktok, Instagram, WhatsApp, email and text. Fortunately, nothing came in the mailbox.
Jokes were about increased weight and not being able to get through the front door when this is over; working from home and drinking on the job; homeschooling memes and drinking on duty; looking after children and drinking while in attendance.
Next came the entertainment videos. I have never seen so many fathers and daughters singing along to the strumming on an ancient guitar, each staring lovingly at the other as they bang out ‘Over the Rainbow’ or ‘Beauty and the Beast’ or ‘The Prayer’. The Prayer has about 100 different renditions.
Stage 3 is the photography – of just about anything. I have seen people’s feet as they recline on their decks, feet up on the table, photograph to prove it. There are sunsets, sundowners, sunrises, guinea pigs, selfies of smiling faces and miserable faces, colourful masks, selfies wearing the colourful masks, more jokes alongside the colourful masks.
Stage 4 is Finding Nature and Becoming One with it. Tapping into the great energies around us as we learn to understand the silence, then identify the rustle in the leaves, or the call of the birds. We see Nature Correcting Itself without our interference and are told all will be well with the planet if humanity can stay inside for longer.
Stage 5 heralds the inspirational phase. Lots and lots of quotes sent daily to lift our apparently failing spirits.
‘There is nothing to fear but fear itself.’
‘Life changes very quickly, in a very positive way if you let it’. (You got that right!)
Don’t worry. Be happy!
‘This too shall pass’
And so we come to Stage 6 – not as prolific as the previous five, but still in evidence: the religious guidance we surely all must crave. God loves us; He will not forsake us. We will be carried through the storm. We will never walk alone. A few mixed metaphors, all the better to understand the great power of the Divine.
Stage 7 brings many, many articles and reports from Heads of This or That for Infectious Diseases from different parts of the world, describing, explaining and advising us of what we should be doing during this time of coronavirus. Get out there! we are told. Studies show that you need to build up your immunity – it doesn’t help staying in your sterile environment. Go to the beach. Go to the markets. Go to school. Go to church. Go, go, go. And by the way, the virus doesn’t survive on surfaces, so all that cleaning – waste of time.
The most interesting part of this is that, while we are exhorted to follow the advice from countries where the infection rate is upwards of 1000 times more than ours, and the death rates just keep on rising, the advice from our own Queensland Premier is being criticized. She is going slowly and cautiously, resulting in strong adverse reactions and comments that she won’t get the votes if she continues easing the restrictions so slowly.
But her roadmap has resulted in Queensland having 1057 cases of coronavirus and 6 deaths. The population of Queensland is 5.071 million. One of the articles I was tasked to read for its excellent advice came from a head of a clinic for Infectious Diseases of a university in an American state which has 5 million people, 33000 cases, and 1650 deaths.