"Creeping Normalcy" in the Plague Age


Britain is experiencing a new wave of Covid cases, 40,000 per day.  Yet it hasn't caused much reaction from the public. It sounds like the legendary stiff upper lip, the "Keep Calm and Carry On" resolve. Health officials think it's something much more troubling.

“We’re in a phase where we still have large numbers of people dying from this disease,” said Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh. “But it has gone into the background. We’ve become used to something that has not gone away. I think there’s been a desensitisation to the mortality.”

On Thursday, the UK reported more than 45,000 new coronavirus cases – the most since mid-July – and more than 800 deaths were reported in the past seven days. Hospitalisations are rising, with one-fifth of ICU beds occupied by Covid patients, and the latest figures showed an estimated 200,000 pupils absent from school.

The UK is faring far worse than its European neighbours, with a rate of deaths per million people nearly triple those seen in France, Germany and Italy.

There's a fine but critical line between stiff lip resolve and resigned fatalism.

“The idea that everyone is accepting the new normal is very dangerous,” said Prof Stephen Reicher, a psychologist at the University of St Andrews. “Then you reinforce a sense of fatalism.” 

According to Reicher, the government has been “systematically normalising” the UK’s current rate of infections.

“They’ve been acting like this is inevitable, seeming relaxed about infections going up,” he said. “People often want a generic psychological explanation, but we mustn’t ignore the political and ideological context in which this is happening. We’re looking at a phenomenon of normalisation.”

Once again this pits the partisan political interest against the public interest.  Given a choice, the pols throw the public to the dogs.

“It feels very surreal that we are just accepting the current infection rates. No one is making a fuss about it, but well over 100 people are dying every day due to Covid,” said Kit Yates, a senior lecturer in mathematics at the University of Bath. 

“The government has abandoned all pretence at public health measures to control Covid. It’s a national scandal, but one which seems to have largely slipped from view.”

Why do names such as Jason Kenney, Scott Moe and Doug Ford keep popping to mind? 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Need an edit function.

      Very apt graphic. My neighbours have covid and although I was only in their proximity for a very short time I felt I should get tested to be safe. Went online to AB Health Services to book and I don't qualify. Apparently we don't think coming in contact with someone who has covid if you are vaccinated does not warrant a test. WTH? So now to ease my mind I have to go pay for a test at Shoppers. The cost of the test isn't an issue for me but for a lot of people during this crisis it could be. Kenney is an ASS!

    2. That doesn't make any sense, Uv. It's not a matter of your peace of mind, testing defends the integrity of the healthcare system. I'm vaccinated and, if I was in your shoes, I'd want to be tested.

  2. We have our UK covid attitude here in BC.
    Northern BC acts as if the rest of the province are the the Disposables !
    In a recent radio interview the MLA for Prince George and north described his constituents as independent thinkers who did not trust government.
    Not once did he say that the anti vaxers had a role to play in overburdening the critical care units of southern BC and Vancouver Island hospitals.

    The rot is deep..


    1. It's been a while since I paid much attention to the Covid numbers. When I did, the north stood out for its incredibly low infection/death rates. I guess that's life in the holler.

  3. The good news is that we may never make it to the stage of climate distress we all fear. We could well end it much sooner!!

    SCMP Headline (ignored in the Western media):

    US nuclear submarine accident sparks safety fears in South China Sea
    Busy waterway’s complex underwater terrain and shipping litter make it a challenging environment for the giant vessels
    Collision has also highlighted the difficulties in safely disposing of the reactors from decommissioned subs, with no agreed guidelines, experts say

    1. I don't know if it's my particular reading list but I came across the sub report a few days ago. There were a handful of injuries in the collision and the sub made for Guam for inspection. If it's seaworthy it'll probably head back to the States for refit.

      As for SCMP, I do read it but, like RT or FOX or the Washington Examiner, I don't take it at face value. Whatever happened to the good old days of Pravda, TASS and Voice of America?

    2. Pravda writers used to laugh at their western counterparts. They had to bury the truth 'between the lines' while their western counterparts played reliable state stenographers.
      The NYT, G&M, Guardian etc. are more effective due to their cloak of respectability. I read all sources with a jaundiced eye and use the various versions (or lack of versions in this case) to come up with 'my version' of what's happening.

      "In this vein, direct censorship represents a failure of ideology – a form of domination that, in the Weberian understanding, relies on raw power rather than authority. Formal state censorship, then, is ‘only one form of control of society, secondary to the more “productive” systems of ideological production and dissemination’ (Bunn, 2015: 36). The censorial effects of ideology (or, to borrow terms from Gramsci and Althusser, of hegemony and ideological interpellation) blur the distinction between censorship and self-censorship. Building on this idea, the articles in this Special Issue explore how journalistic expression is shaped by social structure, individual agency and subjectivity."

      Another 'captive view' from a non-Chinese, non-Western source shows a rather nuanced view of these developments, supporting the concept of International law while rejecting the outright war-mongering.


    3. BTW, the two best news aggregators I've found are
      Neither are behind paywalls and they print the news w/o the parochial slants found in NYT etc.

    4. Actually, the Pravda guys on Parliament Hill weren't really that into journalism. It was the Cold War. Things were never quite as they seemed.

    5. the Pravda guys on Parliament Hill weren't really that into journalism



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