Delingpole: Fear of the Coronavirus Is Worse Than the Disease

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CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for Coronavirus, making him the first world leader known to have contracted the disease.

I’m glad that he has it — not because I wish him ill but because as I explain here you usually feel so much better once you have recovered, which I certainly hope and expect he will.

I had my own brush with Covid-19 at the beginning of February. Everyone’s experience is different, of course, but I’d say that as a rule the fear it engenders is worse than the disease itself.

Before you get it, it’s quite nerve-wracking. “Will I be one of the unlucky ones who needs hospital treatment? What if I get it really badly and there are no ventilators?”

Afterwards you feel more relaxed, smug almost, because you’ve developed a degree of immunity.

Because we live in such hysterical times, fuelled by a mainstream media with an insatiable appetite for “This is worse than the Black Death” anecdotage, lots of armchair experts become indignant and defensive about the very concept of acquired immunity.

“Ah, but what about the Japanese man who was re-infected? You can get it more than once!” they insist, as if totally affronted by the outrageous notion that this pandemic will ever end.

Perhaps that Japanese man — and the other small number of cited cases — really was re-infected. But that still more likely makes him an outlier than it makes him terrifying proof that we’re all going to catch this terrible disease again and again until we die.

Some people have been so unhinged by this pandemic that they almost seem to be willing the Apocalypse to arrive. Their judgement has been warped by fear, causing them to demand ever more stringent government measures to allay their panic, making them behave like paranoid, authoritarian snitches rather than decent human beings with a sense of perspective.

With luck, when Boris has got over this he will have acquired a better appreciation that fear of coronavirus is worse than the disease, and that the extreme measures being adopted to control the pandemic are actually going to do far more long term damage than the virus.

What he’ll also appreciate, I hope, is just how imperative and urgent it is to roll out antibody tests as quickly as possible.

The sooner we can all be tested for antibodies, the sooner those of us who have had coronavirus (or are 99 per cent sure we have) can be released back to the big wide world and get on with our jobs.

The battle being fought on by the overworked medics in our hospitals is important.

But getting our economies back in action sooner rather than later is more vital still.

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