The Herd Mentality

In these times of Coronavirus and specifically covid19 the herd mentaility is something that we should all think about a bit because it could mean survival or not, it can be that serious.

The herd is the population. Their mentality is how they react in various situations.

The perceived wisdom in dealing with covid19 is to reduce contact between people. The idea is to slow down the spread of the disease. It means that you did your part in order to keep your neighbours and friends safe.

The figure that people tend to talk about is that more than 80% of the population will survive the illness with only mild symptoms. So that’s OK then isn’t it?

Well no. Those 20% who will get it more seriously and may even die are our mothers, grandmothers aunties uncles. People who are ill and old. So we have to think about what we cause to happen to them.

The thing that we all miss is the health services in our respective countries. We take them for granted. They will always look after us. Won’t they?

Well they will do what they can. I saw some figures. They show that any country has a limited number of intensive care beds and quarrantine facilities. If you take a look at the 20% of the population then it tends to be at least 3 times the number of facilities available to care for them. Those 20% of the population will be ill for a long time, not just the 2 weeks that the mild cases will take, more like 8 to 10 weeks.

So the short answer is that No they won’t look after all of the serious cases.

The longer answer is that the medics will start to decide who should be saved and who should be left to pass away.

The advice in all countries has been to reduce contact with other people to reduce the speed at which the virus spreads. If we do that we reduce the amount of medical facilities that are needed at any particular time. If we do that simple thing we give our health service a chance to help us in the way that they want to.

The Italians ignored that and they have a severe crisis on their hands.

The French are not doing that and they are going down the same path, I’ve just come back from there and their government has just imposed radical limitations on peoples daily lives.

We in the UK are at the crossroads, we will see in the next two weeks whether we decided to do it right or do it wrong. Whether we break the health service that is trying to help us, or whether we reduce the rate of spread of the virus and give them a chance to help us.

The herd mentality is an indicator. Here in the UK we have been asked not to stock up with food because there is a plentiful supply. We have a lot of empty spaces in the shelves. We have been told to limit our contact with others and yet our town centres are still filled with people capable of spreading the disease.

So do we do the easy thing and force our medical staff to decide who lives and who dies? Do we do the easy thing and be a contributory factor in the painful deaths of thousands of elderly and sick friends and relatives?

Or do we do the hard thing and only go out when absolutely necessary. Do we reduce the contact with others. Stay at home when we may only have a cough or a cold.

It’s not easy to go against the herd mentality.

And we need help. If you are one of the many who have to go out to work to earn the money to buy food, then somehow you need money to buy food when you’re self isolating.

We have to wait and see.



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