How COVID-19 is affecting society

Kamilah Hauptmann

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Innula Zenovka

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Two of the government’s most powerful civil servants have said they were not aware of any attempt to make economic preparations for a possible global pandemic in the years leading up to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sir Tom Scholar and Alex Chisholm, the permanent secretaries in the Treasury and the Cabinet Office respectively, confirmed that although the government simulated an international flu outbreak in 2016, Whitehall did not devise a plan for dealing with the consequences for the economy.

Instead, Scholar told MPs, civil servants devised schemes to help businesses “as they went along”. The disclosure, made before the public accounts committee, prompted its chair, Labour’s Meg Hillier, to say she was “dumbstruck”.
Hopeless. Instead we were arguing about bloody Brexit.
 

Jopsy Pendragon

That's it. F*CK 2020 with a rusty screwdriver.
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"The truth that everyone keeps dancing around" ... what a quaint way of putting "flinging ourselves to the side of the road so we don't get trampled by it".

"Dancing" *scoff*.
 
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Beebo Brink

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Speaking of manufactured realities, I'm curious to see how books, TV shows and movies deal with this chapter -- possibly a very long series of chapters -- in global reality.

Is the entertainment sector going to fork off into an alternate timeline where COVID-19 never happened, where people don't wear masks, where we pretend what was normal 6mos ago is still how we live our lives? Is 2020 a blip that we can ignore without any jarring sense of disconnect, the way we (mostly) ignore Trump and the dismantling of our democracy?

At what point are the stories we tell about ourselves going to reflect this episode in American history? How many bodies will have to pile up for this to become so interwoven in our lives that it simply can't be ignored by writers and artists?
 

Innula Zenovka

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Speaking of manufactured realities, I'm curious to see how books, TV shows and movies deal with this chapter -- possibly a very long series of chapters -- in global reality.

Is the entertainment sector going to fork off into an alternate timeline where COVID-19 never happened, where people don't wear masks, where we pretend what was normal 6mos ago is still how we live our lives? Is 2020 a blip that we can ignore without any jarring sense of disconnect, the way we (mostly) ignore Trump and the dismantling of our democracy?

At what point are the stories we tell about ourselves going to reflect this episode in American history? How many bodies will have to pile up for this to become so interwoven in our lives that it simply can't be ignored by writers and artists?
British soaps are generally slightly more grounded in external reality than American ones, though not much (a bit like our respective countries' governing parties, I guess), but this is how the producer of Coronation Street, Britain's longest-running TV soap, plans to handle it
"The Coronation Street that we love is the one that reflects modern Britain, albeit in a more heightened way sometimes," he said.

"And it just felt that if there were to be no coronavirus in Coronation Street, it would stop being a reflection of modern Britain and would instead be a parallel fantasy land. So we took the view that it has to exist in our world.

"However I am also aware that people also tune in to Coronation Street for escapism to some degree, and to see drama and stories that they'd never normally experience in their own lives, and stuff that they'd never normally see in their own living rooms played out on screen.

"So while the virus will exist in Coronation Street, we were also keen that it wouldn't dominate every single story and every single scene.

"Coronavirus is pretty much the only topic of conversation in my house, but people wouldn't want to tune in to Coronation Street and see every scene was people talking about coronavirus.

"It'll be there, it'll be handled with a light touch, but other than that our storytelling will be business as usual."

The BBC also say that
Episodes of EastEnders that were in the can before the pandemic have been rationed by BBC One. But when existing episodes run out, there is likely to be a gap before the new ones reach screens.

Coronavirus is expected to be referenced as part of the storylines, although not in a prominent way.

However, since the local pubs, the Rover's Return and the Queen Victoria, and cafes play such a big role in both series, it's going to be interesting to see how they work round social distancing.

I suspect what's going to happen is that, when the series return, they'll have jumped from the pre-Covid-19 world to a post-lockdown world where everyone's wearing masks and socially distancing, or not, without the initial crisis or lockdown.

What happens if (or, I fear, when) we start to see a second spike, is another question, though that would presumably disrupt filming, too.
 
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Beebo Brink

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What happens if (or, I fear, when) we start to see a second spike, is another question, thought that would presumably disrupt filming, too.
For the moment at least, let's consider the worst case scenario: coronavirus becomes endemic is our respective countries, and COVID-19 deaths are simply piled up on top of seasonal flu deaths and become a "routine" cause of disease fatalities. Americans, at least, live with and accept auto accidents and gun deaths as just part of modern life.

Based on how we, as a society, have reacted so far, it seems we're more willing to overlook the deaths than change behaviors and wear masks. So before too long we can return to a fictional world in which coronavirus is part of the background noise that we don't listen to anymore.
 

Innula Zenovka

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For the moment at least, let's consider the worst case scenario: coronavirus becomes endemic is our respective countries, and COVID-19 deaths are simply piled up on top of seasonal flu deaths and become a "routine" cause of disease fatalities. Americans, at least, live with and accept auto accidents and gun deaths as just part of modern life.

Based on how we, as a society, have reacted so far, it seems we're more willing to overlook the deaths than change behaviors and wear masks. So before too long we can return to a fictional world in which coronavirus is part of the background noise that we don't listen to anymore.
Though in that situation, the producers and showrunners are going to have to deal with the practical constraints of filming during a pandemic -- quite apart from the possible legal restrictions on what the actors and crew may do, the producers are going to have to worry about both their potential civil liability and the storyline when people start falling ill during filming.
 

Romana

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Godfather's and


"The truth that everyone keeps dancing around" ... what a quaint way of putting "flinging ourselves to the side of the road so we don't get trampled by it".

"Dancing" *scoff*.
I'm surprised he didn't touch on any of the specifics of the manufacturerd reality, like "Plandemic".
It's been discussed previously, of course, but here's a link in case anyone needs it, it's also picking it apart point by ridiculous point.

 

Innula Zenovka

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The team argue that better explanations for the high Covid-19 death toll in the UK than public behaviour include lockdown being implemented too late because of under-reaction by politicians, as well as systemic problems such as poverty and other inequalities putting certain groups at risk, and failures of communication, including an early focus on self-protection rather than on protecting others.

“Despite media campaigns to vilify some people as selfish and thoughtless ‘covidiots’, the evidence on reasons for non-adherence shows that much of it was practical rather than psychological,” the team write, noting those living in cities often had no alternative but to exercise in crowded parks.

Drury said such portrayals of public behaviour could lead to division in communities and a lack of commitment to measures crucial to tackling the outbreak.

“Where people think that others are not acting as one, that undermines the unity we need,” said Drury.
 

Cindy Claveau

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Is the entertainment sector going to fork off into an alternate timeline where COVID-19 never happened, where people don't wear masks, where we pretend what was normal 6mos ago is still how we live our lives? Is 2020 a blip that we can ignore without any jarring sense of disconnect, the way we (mostly) ignore Trump and the dismantling of our democracy?
My own sample size is so small right now, I won't make any definitive statements. But I have been paying attention to when shows were filmed, usually months before the pandemic officially began. But as I expected, the timeline is moving and I've started to see more and more shows that featured large audiences move into digital/remote performances. Then there's "America's Got Talent", which I do not watch regularly, and they filled their auditorium shoulder to shoulder, never even acknowledging the problem.

I usually come away from those experiences believing we're all doomed.