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Worst Hot Take of the Week: Keep Calm and Don't Let Nan Go On A Cruise

Boris Johnson set out the UK government’s plans to “minimise” the impact of coronavirus, which is basically: keep washing your hands.
by NEO
13 March 2020, 3:16pm
Boris Johnson Coronavirus conference
Welcome to The Worst Take of the Week – a column in which NEO, AKA @MULLET_FAN_NEO, crowns the wildest hot take of the week.

Story: The World Health Organisation characterises COVID-19 as a pandemic, as the number of cases in the UK approaches 800.

Reasonable Take: Something, anything, resembling whatever every other country is doing to tackle the outbreak.

Brain Rot: Coronavirus cannot be stopped, so for now we'll just let it run its course until we develop "herd immunity". A strategy that, in order to work, will require 60 percent of the UK – that's almost 40 million people – to catch COVID-19.

On Thursday, Boris Johnson set out the UK government’s plans to “minimise” the impact of coronavirus. Despite describing the pandemic as “the worst public health crisis for a generation”, the Prime Minister, seemingly still with his Brexit-hat on, declared he wouldn't yet follow the example of Italy, Ireland and many other European countries who have implemented travel restrictions and suspension of schools, sporting events and mass public gatherings.

“We don’t squirm away from pandemics on this island you Euro cunts!”

Firstly, we must acknowledge how tiring and bizarre it must be for our comedy PM to endlessly do his “funny twit” shtick in the midst of a deadly virus outbreak. Even after spending most of this week jollily suggesting we “sing two verses of 'Happy Birthday' whilst washing our hands”, it still felt monumentally absurd watching him tell the British public to prepare for the loss of “loved ones before their time” and then blabber about stopping our nans from “going on cruises”, as if he were desperately trying to allay the panic siren he just set off with a loud, wet fart.

“Remember people, no more all-inclusive booze cruises to the Caribbean for your nana! Haha! Also, prepare for untimely deaths! Ciao x”

While, realistically, no average cunt on Twitter has the chops to second guess senior government epidemiologists (who, it's worth pointing out, would have been the same people had Corbyn won the election), it does speak to the level of distrust many people have in a Boris-led government to guide the UK through a crisis. The fact that he hoped on This Morning earlier this week saying the British public could take coronavirus "on the chin” and “allow it to move through the population without really taking as many draconian measures" didn't help, either.

According to the Chief Scientific Adviser for England, Sir Patrick Vallance, “at least 60 percent of the population needs to contract COVID-19 in order to develop ‘herd immunity’ to prevent further transmission in the future”. Prominent members of the British press, like Robert Peston, relayed this strategy of the British government, which states they plan to allow the UK to acquire “herd immunity” to COVID-19 by letting the virus spread throughout the populous.

The UK’s outlier strategy of tackling the coronavirus even made former health secretary and universally derided Tory panto villain Jeremy Hunt nervous. On Newsnight, he criticised the government’s lack of action in contrast to measures introduced by other major nations: "I think it is surprising and concerning that we're not doing any of it at all when we have just four weeks before we get to the stage that Italy is at. You would have thought that every single thing we do in that four weeks would be designed to slow the spread of people catching the virus."

When Jeremy Hunt is acting as the conservative voice of concern regarding Britain’s most vulnerable being exposed to a deadly virus, I think we should all collectively reassess where this Dominic Cummings-led government is taking us. When did “survival of the fittest” become government policy? Why do we have some unelected slaphead, whose only care in the world is prioritising financial markets, deciding which demographics of the UK populous it’s okay to cull? Or, as I see it: willingly sacrificing society's weakest to the neoliberal gods so the harvests of capitalism do not spoil?

It seems Boris and the boys have organised a huge, adult chickenpox party that we are all being forced to attend, only that instead of being itchy we will all contract COVID-19 and get pneumonia. With some reports from Japanese authorities showing that patients who have previously fallen ill with the coronavirus are not immune to becoming reinfected, this feels as if this is going to be a long and miserable affair.

Just when you think the British media establishment couldn’t get more reprehensible, our broadsheet journalists are now theorising how killing off elderly citizens might “prove mildly beneficial to the UK economy”, and whether we can get the Queen on the telly because “at times of our most acute national crises, the Queen has been prominent in the national response: 9/11, financial crash, UK terrorism”.

Sorry if I don’t take Boris Johnson at his word that he is “doing all he can”. Maybe, it’s the tens of thousands of deaths caused by Tory austerity that makes me feel as if the government doesn’t actually care about vulnerable people. Or perhaps it's their blasé “reassurance” that the coronavirus only tends to kill old people and those with underlying health conditions.

The PM then explained the “delay” strategy of his plan that relies on millions of people to self-isolate if they show symptoms of the coronavirus. However, it seems implausible to expect so many people to self-quarantine and not work when they have rent to pay and mouths to feed in a gig economy that has many of us trapped in low security, zero-hour contracts, topped off with a frayed social safety net that often sees claimants waiting weeks for a payment.

Despite the suspension of sporting events like the NBA season in North America and the European football leagues, the UK government is dithering on giving any clear government directives beyond asking people to clean their fucking fingers. In turn, this has left the burden of responsibility on businesses, who are all doing the cha-cha-slide trying to work out what the fuck to do because they're reluctant to cancel anything without explicit advice from the government due to the invariably huge sums of money they will lose.

Relying on the free-market forces to decide how badly the pandemic is? Sorry, but that’s good, honest leadership in the face of crisis!

The summer is already a write-off. All your festivals will be pied off. A season of sunshine and football like 2018 is a hazy, lager filled pipe dream. There’s more chance of back-to-back pneumonia than back-to-back Love Island and England vs Croatia. We'll all probably have to resort to reading books or practicing self-care like a bunch of cunts, as we self-seclude from society in flats we can no longer afford to rent.

No wonder that our Prime Minister once described the mayor who kept the beach open in Jaws as the “real hero” of the film for “his refusal to give way to hysteria”. But didn't his constituents get eaten by an enormous shark? “OK, in that instance, he was wrong but in principle we need more politicians like the mayor… I loved his rationality. Of course, it turned out that he was wrong. But it remains that he was heroically right in principle.”

It reminds me of my steadfast belief that, when most kids dream of scoring the winning goal in a cup final or saving their crush from a shark attack, Tories dream of being the maligned referee or corrupt town mayor. They only care about their right to rule. Regardless of whether they're right or wrong, it’s all in the “principle”.

@MULLET_FAN_NEO

For more information on Coronavirus (Covid-19), visit the NHS website. If you can't cope with your symptoms at home, your condition gets worse, or you don't get better after seven days, call NHS 111.