Cynical ignorance

It’s cold like in slaughterhouses, noisy like in slaughterhouses and the rooms are closed like in slaughterhouses – now guess what that is? Yes, exactly: ice hockey stadiums. Soon, thousands of people will be watching a few upholstered guys doing body checks or bullys and cheering them on. At least if a COVID celebrity and the Swiss Federal Council have their way.

Meanwhile, we send our school-age children – almost a million in number – back to the classrooms. We send them back to other children and teachers who were somewhere during the summer vacations. There they spend every day in closed rooms together. And all this at a time of raising infection rates that only a few months ago led to the country’s lockdown.

Do we still remember? Group gatherings of more than five people were forbidden, schools were closed, work from home decreed. And the number of cases went down. At that time we knew little about aerosol transmission, superspreader events and viral load in children. Today we ignore it. And we ignore the fact that children come home from school and cuddle with daddy, mommy, grandma and grandpa, that mommy then nurses other grandmas and grandpas in the nursery home after sleeping in the same bed with daddy and then driving to work in the crowded bus with many other mommies and daddies. We ignore that daddy does his work out in a club, panting heavily, before he enthusiastically tells his commuter colleagues in the train about the last ice hockey match and eats his sandwhich without a mask on. For officials working from home is not a state that can last much longer. Washing your hands and keeping your distance must be enough.

And then it doesn’t even worry us that only in a quarter of the cases do we even know ehere they got infected. Mostly in the family. Yes, and how did the virus get there? And how was it passed on again? It couldn’t possibly have been the children, told the retired Mister Corona early on. Therefore we do not have to test the little ones. Mommy has to care for the old ones with COVID, anyway. That’s why we shouldn’t let dads go into full stadiums, because it’s working like in a slaughterhouse there.

Column by Esther-Mirjam de Boer, published in the Handelszeitung on 20 August 2020