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  • Sarah Menzies

Mortality & the Modern World

We are all so caught up in our own self importance as human beings, in our rush to prove ourselves in some arbitrary manner, that we forget, or choose to ignore, the fact that we are mortal beings.


It's understandable that we don't want to fixate on our demise, it's hardly a topic full of cheer. But the reality is that death is unavoidable, for everyone.


Unfortunately the Covid-19 pandemic has brought our mortality to the forefront of political debate, and with it our fear of death. It is a difficult topic, life is quite rightly held sacred and we want to do all we can to preserve it. But we need to ensure reactions are not out of sync with risks. That things aren't being driven by a media panic and our own mortality issues.


However, it is quite startling to see how governments can "follow the science" when relating to imminent deaths from a pandemic, but have blatantly ignored the repeated scientific warnings on the slow death of the planet and its occupants due to environmental factors.


We now find ourselves entering the second wave of the virus and it becomes clear that the situation we are in is no better than it was in March and April. All those months of lockdown, of missed birthdays and weddings, damaged friendships or relationships and the detrimental impact on the country both financially and mentally, has been for nothing. The curve has not been flattened, we've just moved the problem away from summer and into the winter months. It is no wonder talk has turned to "Pandemic Fatigue".


When Lauren died from a virus I couldn't understand it. How could a fit and healthy girl die, even with all the help that modern medicine can provide, from a tiny virus. I remember saying at the time that if it had been a RTA it would have made more sense to me. However with just a minimal amount of research I found two other fit and healthy children who had died the same month as Lauren, from the same virus. There's probably more, but these cases didn't make headlines, imagine if they had, the panic the deaths of just three children from a "killer virus" would have had on parents up and down the country. But they didn't, no-one panicked, many more people have died since, and the world kept turning.


No-one can debate that this virus isn't deadly, the effects causing heartbreak, but many things kill us, including poverty and mental illness. We are told that hospitals are being overrun. Let us not be deluded, hospitals are always overrun, not due to Covid-19 but due to the complete lack of under-funding of the NHS for decades.


We need to be realistic about what we are doing here. It would be a brave government to tell a certain section of society, those at high risk, that they should shield, but what is the alternative? Can we really all put our lives on hold for what is currently statistically a 0.000143% chance that we may die from this? Because the reality is, while we are hiding away we are still likely to die from other things. In fact the chance of dying from cancer, heart disease, stroke or dementia are all higher, by some margin, than the risk of dying from Covid-19. How many people who cancelled holidays this year will not be alive to go on the re-arranged holiday next year? For how many people will this Christmas be their last?


As anyone who risk assesses knows, you can never reduce all risk, you just need to minimise the best you can while still allowing life to continue. No-one wants to die, but we are all going to. The main question surely is, how are we going to live before we die?





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