Lockdown had a good run, but it’s over now. After three months of sheltering in some place what have we learnt about the world? Did you achieve all of your goals? Did you change as a person? Did you notice that the air was cleaner?
Most of you were fighting the war against the tobacco ban as a proxy to rally against a government you don’t trust. Legal opinions were sought and surveys were passed off as science to say that smokers were still smoking. Driving home from a client yesterday I took the suburban route and was by people on the streets in strong number, but not smoking.
I did a TV job the other day and the presenter we were filming remarked that he had quit smoking.
I was on a video call with a close friend last week and he was smoking, but seeing him light up on my phone screen was like seeing the first airplanes pass over my house last week. A former regular sight that just vanished without me noticing it was gone.
In the courts I was astonished that government never took the defense that would force its detractors to argue the health benefits of smoking as opposed to fighting a losing battle about the logical semantics of lockdown regulation.
Smoking is a harmful addiction that has somehow become socially acceptable. It’s a symbol of corporate greed at the expense of public health that, somehow, became a hill that many have chosen to die on. Because we want to keep the personal freedoms to kill ourselves in the way we choose.
While I respect that attitude, it’s a bit rich to justify the freedom fighting on behalf of the destitute who are the ultimate loser in the equation. Having the knowledge to eventually fight back against the generational network effects of targeted marketing is a wealthy person’s game.
People are dying of COVID-19. The world has never committed this amount of resources to solve any problem. Ever. Our interconnected systems that made fertile ground for the virus to take root in our society may be the thing that eventually saves us all as the coordinated scientific effort finds weaknesses in the pandemic armour.
Wearing a mask in public and washing your hands regularly makes you five times less likely to contract or contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
Staying in your home and not interacting with the outside world will bring that risk down by a full 100 percent because you can’t catch a virus you’re not exposed to.
The new term we all need to learn is Time of Exposure. If your risk of contracting COVID-19 at home is zero, then every second you spend out in public is an incremental, but exponential, increase in risk. Risk accumulates with each new surface you touch and area you move through.
Standing in the queue at the shops? Imagine virus particles saturating the air around you with each breath the people around you take. Your mask is only protecting you from 20 percent of that and, if you assume the person behind you is an asytmptomatic, spending 5x more time than needed in their presence completely erases your protection measures.
But sure, go and have your haircut and sit down at the coffee shop.