So my Lockdown lesson #2 concerns Fake news. After a lifetime of being an avid news hound, Lockdown has proved the ideal cure for my ‘news habit’. I am now ‘clean’, and no longer suffer withdrawals and an irresistable demand to newswatch.

My wife has had Covid-19. Not that she knew initially. She had no symptons that have been reported as indicators of Covid-19. No temperature, no cough, no breathing difficulties. Yet, she was unwell. Eventually she was ordered to take a test, which came back negative. However, those administering the test said it was only 80% accurate. Not heard that reported on the media or by government ministers indicating testing is a an essential tool in the war against Covd-19.

But now she did have pain in her lungs, trouble with breathing and she struggled with her voice.

The GP reuested to see her. Like a secret assignation she had to divulge the colour of her car and its registration number. On entering the surgery car park she was met by the GP in full PPE. Somewhat eery and a very different world to the one we’d left a few weeks previously.

Still no satisfactory answer. She returned home and a week later the GP phoned to see how she was. Reporting things were much the same, she was now directed to A&E. Here a four hour examination, bloods, chest X-rays, heart monitors, established she’d definitely had Covid-19 and was now left with a sever infection of the lungs and heart. Viral in nature and so no treatment possible. The body must fight as best it could and she was to rest.

Interestingly, in conversation with the medics, she learned that there were no guaranteed signs that indicated Covid-19. This viral infection attacked as it wished and took life whenever it could.

So what’s this to do with the media? Well, eight weeks into Lockdown I note the media seems to be pushing for a return to normality. Of course none of us knows what the new normal will be. In reality we listen to the news and must decide which ‘experts’ we choose to believe. Some say this pandemic will only be controlled through strict Lockdown. Others that we must take the risk, even if we keep the elderly under lock and key, fearing the economic collapse will prove more catastrophic than loss of life.

Cabinet politicians stepping up to the podium to offer a daily briefing, look as though they are struggling to conceal more than they actually reveal. No-one looks assured. The health ‘experts’ flanking the esteemed minister themselves sound less than convincing as they present clourful charts that, as with all statistics, tell the story the statistician wants to peddle. As someone once said, ‘A politician uses statistics like a drunk uses a lamppost; for support rather than illumination’.

So, I’ve concluded that I cannot fathom anything useful from watching the news. A Prime Minister speaks of conquering Covid-19, whilst medical specialists explain you don’t defeat a disease, you only ever manage a disease. No-one can tell us whether PPE is available or not. The self employed patiently wait to see if there wil be any financial help come June. And major companies, such as the airlines, clamour for government bail outs to shield their shareholders from their responsibility for sustaining the business through these bad times in return for the rewards they’ve enjoyed during the good.

I however remain happy and optimisti; like a man freed from an addictive habit, for I no longer watch the news. I glance at the BBC headlines on my phone, yet again most of the information is confusing at best, deceitful at worst.

Now I am confident in one thing alone. As the Psalmist declares, ‘You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed‘.

So I ignore the news, and accept the truth that in reality my days are already determined by God, and so there’s no point in anxiety. I could not be in safer hands; and I pray that once my allotted time runs out I embrace my departure with courage and conviction.