A lot of people will have woken up to a national emergency today as Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across the world in what seems like a dystopian future event, so I’d like to address some of the issues and look at solutions that just aren’t being considered during this crisis.

As a British citizen who lives in York (the city where the first UK outbreak occurred back in late January 2020) I’ve been watching this very closely because I felt lied to about what was happening – or at the very least, denied information.

Why did I feel this way? Well, we’ve had secret hazmats taking people away in the dead of night while the unfolding events were hushed up to save the tourist industry and university revenue. Let’s be realistic here. Most of York’s universities benefit financially from Chinese students, and the majority of visitors are Chinese tourists, which is why York is where the UK outbreak began. I don’t believe the outbreak would have been mentioned at all if not for innocent bystanders filming the events on their phones as all breaking news came from local citizens and local newspapers.

It’s suspicious that the Chinese visitors were in a hotel beside a Chinese New Year festival with over a thousand people at it, but they apparently didn’t visit it. After all, why would you take your visiting mother to a festival next door at New Year’s when you can sit and stare at a hotel room wall together?

It’s also suspicious that no one at the hotel got it, and no one at the university did. So I guess the sick people just levitated around York and their hotel room in a giant bubble for the duration of their stay.

What is most unbelievable is that they saw no one during their stay because it is impossible to avoid people in York city centre (I should know. I’ve been trying to avoid people my whole life). The city centre is about 3 miles in radius with over 200,000 in population and 6.9 million visitors each year. And yet, these two people with Coronavirus apparently met no one. How?

I didn’t believe the news that we only had two isolated cases in York, so I self-isolated my household at the end of January because I figured York was infected. But also, as writers and artists who already work from home, self-isolation isn’t much of a change for me or my family, so we’ve only been going out if it’s an emergency since January, and it hasn’t been a drastic change for us. (There’s always the garden for some fresh air and the exercise bike for cardio).

However, that is not the case for a lot of people in the UK or around the world. Many have to go out to work to pay for a roof over their head. Many businesses are also suffering due to this virus, and the virus is going to last for a while, so we need to prepare for what comes next.

So, what does the British government decide to do in their infinite wisdom? They decide to infect an entire nation to get a quick vaccine, no doubt to sell for a trade deal they wouldn’t have got otherwise. WTF?

Dear Government ,

Killing millions of people is not the right way to make a vaccine unless you are a psychopath. Stop being psychopaths and do your bloody jobs!

Anyway, while shaking my head at the true darkness this ‘herd immunity’ exposes in our government by blatantly displaying that their first instinct is the genocide of millions, it occurred to me that there are several problems that solve each other during this crisis that haven’t even been considered.

So here is what I’d do right now if I was the leader of this country:

  1. Basic Income for Everyone – Every adult (working or not) would be provided with an income they could live off – essentially the universal income concept (not to be confused with universal credit, which is bogged down in red tape). Universal income removes the need for people to go to work when they are sick, and it removes all the admin and red tape delays by just paying everyone the same regardless of their circumstances. It also improves the economy because everyone can afford to go shopping (money circulates), so it saves businesses and removes stress. The spread of disease is halted, and people have time to recover or come up with new ways to help each other. Remove money problems from the equation by giving citizens enough to live off and having them circulate that money back into the economy by spending it.
  2. Work From Home – Companies would be encouraged to have their staff work from home where possible, and staff would be told to only go into workplaces if their job was considered to be an essential service. So, don’t work at all or work from home unless you provide essential services.
  3. Work Safety Regulations – Essential services like medical care, emergency services, delivery services, power & water supply, food supply, refuse services, and telecoms would be provided with enough skilled workers and safety equipment, so they could safely continue to do their jobs. It would be a priority to ensure everyone was safe at work because without these workers, no one survives.
  4. Re-purpose Industries for Crisis Relief – Companies that are suffering economically would be re-purposed during the crisis to provide services we need. This would keep them afloat with government funding (or consumer funding in some cases), and it would provide much needed services to the public. Some examples might be:
    1. Hospital Hotels – Hotels with no guests would become makeshift hospitals and quarantine locations. They have beds, staff, kitchens and would only need medical equipment, medical staff/overseers and patients moving in. This would provide much needed bed space and staff (reception, cleaning and catering at least) to medical services, while also keeping the hotels in business while there is no tourism/customers. They would be publicly funded during the crisis to provide free emergency healthcare and quarantine.
    2. Restaurant Food Delivery – Restaurants with no patrons could deliver food to isolated people, the elderly, hospitals, people at home. The list is endless since many people may be isolating themselves in the coming weeks. They can also go into food production for other delivery services. People will still need food at home, and they will pay for special meals to be delivered.
    3. Transport to Shipping – Transport services like planes, trains and taxis could offer their services to the industries still running. Medical supplies and food will still need delivering to people and businesses. Delivery services are going to be used more, so there will be more need for transport and drivers.
    4. Shopping Online – Shops and supermarkets can deliver online orders using that spare transport that just opened up. Unused high street areas would be good for warehouse space for stocking supplies locally.

I’m sure there are many more industries that would be able to temporarily re-purpose in a way that would help people and themselves. From what I can see, the major issues solve each other if you focus on both the welfare of the people and the country’s economy. But I guess this government is too blind to see that an empty hotel is a hospital or that it costs us more in every way to bury people than it does to give them a chance to survive.

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