Facts, medical evidence, and conspiracies - The need for informed debate

Christine Vasquez - Tuesday 3rd November

I struggle to understand what people mean when they say Covid 19 is a hoax. Surely they must know of someone who has it, perhaps a friend of a friend who’s had it. So therefore the actual virus itself can not be a hoax. So where does the deliberate falsehood lie? In its overestimation? That’s another thing I struggle with. People are dying worldwide-they’re mostly elderly or vulnerable, but does the hoax argument insinuate they don’t matter? How have we flipped from a strong community lockdown, where neighbour took care of neighbour, where volunteers delivered food to the old and vulnerable, when we sent each other hope via rainbow postcards, to not wanting to wear a mask to protect others? Gibraltar has thankfully had no deaths. Admittedly, we were quick to take action, but we’ve been lucky not immune.

I struggle to make sense of the arguments I hear-More people died in the First World War, more people died of the Spanish Flu….. And? What is the point being made here? Then there’s the downright misinformation - More people die of flu. No they don’t! Covid is like a bad flu. No it’s not! From someone who’s witnessing the effects from a front row seat- 4 weeks later and this is like no flu I’ve ever seen.

I can understand someone saying they’re not sure about a Covid vaccine because it’s been tested in a short space of time. I can’t understand anyone who believes it’s a Government conspiracy to control you. Remember this is a Government who found it hard to deliver MOT certificates during lockdown, it would be hard pressed to start going through data chips in your arm. And, the idea that every single Government in the world is in on it! They can’t even organise trade deals and twenty-eight of them are still trying to get their heads round a Withdrawal Agreement.

These wild theories are dangerous - they undermine public health and the rule of law. They undermine society and a community structure that we in Gibraltar have always prided ourselves in. There are issues: the information may not have been as consistent as we would have liked, advice has been changing, but so has what we keep learning of the virus. Let us keep on debating on the real issues, let us keep on questioning - We will always have challenges, we will always have issues, but, let’s keep the debate away from whether or not we should be doing all we can to save lives.