joined 06 Jul 06
Posted - 11 Mar 2020 : 04:40:04
The fear you carry over this virus is the fear those of us who have children with compromised immune systems carry all the time, says Emily Writes.
Standing at the empty aisles in Pak n Save a woman turned to me and said – “well great – there’s no hand sanitiser, what am I going to do with my kids now?” I suggested that she could use cleaning wipes if needed. It’s best to clean around you after washing your hands thoroughly because if you haven’t wiped the surfaces around you, hand sanitiser is much less effective. She scoffed and walked off.
My family won’t run out of hand sanitiser or Dettol because we, and other families like us, buy it in bulk. At the first whiff of a new virus a month or so ago, the online support groups for immune compromised families lit up with discussions about who had what in storage and what would happen once people whose lives don’t revolve around the health of their children had to act.
We ordered extra insulin and got a loan to order six months of implants rather than buying them weekly in case the supply chain was impacted by the virus. And, yes, we grabbed a few extra bottles of soap knowing that a virus might be enough for some folks to suddenly remember you’re meant to wash your hands after you go to the bathroom and before you eat food.
Watching the toilet paper shortage has been an interesting example of a lack of community effort to prevent disease – one that people with immune compromised children know all too well. The obsession with providing only for your family and to hell with everybody else isn’t new to us. If you buy all the hand sanitiser now when you only need a few bottles, you deprive other people of the ability to use it. You spread the disease. But who cares as long as your family is safe, right?
Where have we seen that mentality before?
If only we saw vaccine-preventable diseases the way we see Covid-19.
“I want to keep this **** out of our country” has been a sentiment I’ve seen a lot of online. It’s certainly an interesting concept coming out of New Zealand, given our country’s record in spreading disease.
Measles is a horrendous and murderous illness. And it’s largely preventable with vaccination and herd immunity. Still, some parents say they won’t vaccinate or will delay vaccination simply because measles isn’t a big deal for them.
Imagine if parents openly had the same view of Covid-19? Children and young people under 18 account for only 2.4% of all reported cases of Covid-19. The Ministry of Health tells me via a letter from my children’s principal that this means we are unlikely to see widespread cases in schools and early learning services. If a child or young person does get confirmed with the disease, 97.5% will get mild to moderate symptoms only (0.2% critical).
My child is probably in the 0.2% basket with the other immune compromised kids. The Ministry of Health says up to 30% of people with measles will develop complications – usually children under five and adults over the age of 20. Measles during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature labour and low birth-weight babies.
If that’s not enough to convince you of its seriousness maybe this will: Measles has a more than 50% death rate for New Zealand children with low immunity.
In Australia people are publishing the names of those with Covid-19, with people saying these folks are actively spreading the disease. And yet at other times, people tour New Zealand spreading anti-vaccination propaganda. People openly talk about not vaccinating and encourage others to do the same. They hold gatherings where they actively spread a disease that kills.
I remember when my son was fresh out of intensive care for surgery on his trachea at three months and I read a woman online confidently claim whooping cough was just a cough and the vaccination was unneeded. According to the Ministry of Health outbreaks of the disease occur every three to five years. New Zealand’s most recent outbreak began in August 2011, peaking from then until December 2013, with about 11,000 cases notified (379 new cases per month). A total of three deaths in young children occurred during this period.
I can’t help but imagine a world where people take deadly diseases like whooping cough and measles as seriously as they do Covid-19.
But, then, it simply reflects the attitude we’re seeing right now. To hell with everyone else. As long as my family is OK I don’t care. As long as I have hand sanitiser and a face mask and a tower of toilet paper that’s all that matters. As long as my kids are safe
Who is more likely to believe a conspiracy theory?
It’s hard, right? To tell your friends you think they might be paranoid, easily led, and annoying? So share this article with them instead.
The people most likely to believe false conspiracy theories may have a cluster of characteristics. They could have a suspicious attitude towards authority generally. Some may present themselves as different, a rebel, or an activist. Others may have a low level of education and no formal training in a methodological approach to research. With all the suffering and corruption around the world, conspiracy theories provide a way for some of our friends to cope. There is comfort in the idea that some group is responsible. Perhaps then it can be dealt with – a visible enemy. And some people may attach a conspiracy to their sense of identity. So, to challenge them about their belief is to fundamentally challenge who they are.
It’s a lot, I know. We should ask ourselves whether we have some of these traits too, before we side-eye our friends.
I asked people using Facebook to share the effects of conspiracy theories on them. Here’s a snapshot:
“The friendship I thought I had is not robust enough to survive a discussion of ideas. The experience led to me needing to distance myself from them.”
“I’ve seen some aggressive verbal abuse by these guys who are stuck on some conspiracy theory and can’t handle any challenges.”
“Conspiracy theories are not isolated from all the other dysfunctions around us. Its basis is in trauma.”
“The person disseminating the t#363;tae (faeces) becomes a precious object that has to be tiptoed around. Elephants are in the room instead of adults.”
“Some guys are just wannabe modern day activists. They look ridiculous. They should find a genuine cause.”
“Lots of friends have sent me conspiracy theories in a private message. Why? Are they afraid someone will judge them if they post it on their page? Do they want me to tell them to believe it?”
What if I no longer support a conspiracy theory – will I look like a fool?
We don’t want to look stupid, or to appear gullible or afraid. So, if you think you’ve made a mistake by supporting and sharing a conspiracy theory you no longer believe in, then the next step is easy. Just stop. Quietly step away from your screen and go and make us a cup of tea.
But Roland still controls the TV viewer data.
Edited by - djr18fan on 13 May 2020 14:29:19