If we are to have Christmas this year, according to the World Health Organisation, it should be “risk free”.
And they are worried, would you believe, that this might not be possible:
THE WORLD HEALTH Organization (WHO) has said that avoiding family gatherings would be “the safest bet” over Christmas, insisting there is no zero-risk option for traditional holiday merry-making during the pandemic.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead, said there were no “zero-risk” options this Christmas.
“There’s lower risk or higher risk – but there is a risk,” she told a virtual media briefing today.
“This is incredibly difficult because especially during holidays… we really want to be with family but in some situations, the difficult decision not to have that family gathering is the safest bet.”
Let’s be absolutely clear: The idea of a “zero risk Christmas” is perhaps the most absurd concept ever promulagated by anybody involved in public policy.
There is no such thing as a “zero risk Christmas”. Not on Covid, and not on anything else. It is entirely possible that you could choke on a bone eating your Christmas dinner, and die. It is also entirely possible that you could catch covid, and die.
Life is about facing these risks, and adjudicating them, as adults. Travelling to visit your family entails the risk of a car accident. Going to the shops entails the risk of being robbed. Kissing your wife or husband when they come home from work entails the risk of catching a cold, or a flu, or Covid 19.
The argument with Covid is that it’s not just an individual risk, but a societal risk. That society cannot risk you catching Covid from the sibling you haven’t seen all year and passing it on to your colleagues in January.
But there are societal risks all the time, too. Every Christmas, it’s likely that people will start down the path to alcoholism. It’s likely that an affair will be uncovered, and that marriages will break down. It is likely that, after four or five days, some fights will break out.
There is no such thing as a zero risk Christmas.
And if Covid numbers spike, then what of it?
If they spike, it will be as a result of people coming together to do the most human thing in the world – enjoy the company and companionship of their own families.
A society that desires a zero risk Christmas, or a zero risk anything, is a society that would embrace permanent house arrest for the entire population, regardless of the existence of a pandemic, or its absence.
The concept is medical insanity, and politicians must resist it, at all costs. And if they don’t, then the public must have the courage of their convictions, and ignore them.
They’re politicians, at the end of the day, not Gods.