As a nation, and even as a world, we’re going through a strange and unknown time — we haven’t experienced a pandemic to this degree in our lifetime, where our summer plans have been cancelled and we’re only allowed to leave the house when absolutely necessary. Many of us are trying to make the most of the warmer weather by taking to our gardens for BBQs and drinking wine from plastic wine glasses with our household.
To top it off, news and media is bleak, with repetitive broadcasts circulating. However, if one thing’s for certain, it’s that many unusual things have taken place, whether it is government officials encouraging isolation protests, boxers being sprayed with disinfectant, or outrageous home-made personal protective equipment outfits people are braving the outdoors in.
So, to pick up our moods and put a smile on our faces among all the madness, here, we’ll delve into the weirdest things that have happened as a result of Covid-19.
Yes, you read correctly — on the 25th April, a controversial boxing event took place in Managua, Nicaragua, where boxers were sprayed with disinfectant, ring girls wore face masks, and the crowd looked on while spaced apart. Being sprayed with disinfectant wouldn’t prevent contract the virus which is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth when coughing or exhaling. If these droplets come into contact with the eyes, nose, or mouth, whether it’s directly from an infected individual or by touching contaminated surfaces, the virus can be transmitted. And if it’s anything like a scene out of Rocky, there’ll be plenty of spit droplets flying around.
So please don’t follow suit, and avoid spraying yourself with disinfectant!
Disinfectant seems to be a reoccurring theme as of late — on 23rd April during the White House’s coronavirus task force briefing, U.S. President Donald Trump said that injecting disinfectant could kill the virus. The President was highly misinformed about the findings one of his officials presented to him, who reported that bleach can kill the virus in saliva or respiratory fluids in five minutes.
Disinfectants are incredibly useful in killing viruses on surfaces and keeping things you touch clean. However, they are dangerous substances that can be lethal if ingested or even when applied externally to the skin. Trump has been faced with backlash from the medical community, warning that spreading wrong information could have potentially fatal results on those misinformed about disinfectant and its effects — which it did, when a man died from ingesting chloroquine phosphate. And if in case you’re not sure, don’t ever ingest bleach or apply it to the skin.
5G masts to support the newest generation of mobile telecommunications has been used as a vehicle for the latest conspiracy theory — that 5G masts are the cause of the Covid-19 outbreak. ‘Coronavirus conspiracy’ Google searches surged from 0 on 21st February to 100 on 16th March, which then drops towards the end of March as ‘5G coronavirus’ searches spike to 100 at the start of April, suggesting people found a focus and name for the conspiracy.
As a result of this misinformation, numerous masts have been set on fire as a result of arson across the country, with conspiracists have claimed that 5G spreads the virus or weakens people’s immune systems, making them more vulnerable to Covid-19. Labelled “dangerous nonsense” by Michael Gove, the bizarre amount of traction this conspiracy theory has gained is actually taking action against the infrastructure that we need to respond to this pandemic effectively. With lots of pressure on the network with so many people working from home, it’s important for engineers to currently upgrade it.
Facebook removed an anti-5G group encouraging members to supply footage of them destroying masts — so make sure to fact check your information and avoid fake news. It’s important to spread the correct information so we can stay informed.
Gal Gadot and many more celebrities attempted a gesture of goodwill and positivity with a philosophical monologue along with a viral rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’, which went down badly. The video was criticised by the public by accusing celebrities for being out of touch with normal people, isolating without worry of being able to pay their mortgage and feed their families in their ‘mansions’.
Angry users posted: “This isn’t encouraging. We aren’t in this together. While you all sing from your giant mansions without fear, I’m sitting here trying to figure out how I’m going to feed my children as a single parent. I lost my job because of this virus. I can’t get access to affordable testing. But thanks for the song I guess”, and “Nothing like rich famous people singing ‘imagine no possessions’ in their mortgage free homes as the rest of society queue at Lidl for broken biscuits”.
It’s safe to say that it certainly wasn’t inspirational.
It wouldn’t be a true list of weird things to happen during the pandemic if there was no mention of panic buying toilet paper. Toilet paper was sold out of stores for a period of time, with shoppers stockpiling essential items despite there not being an initial shortage. This behaviour began in the Chinese city of Wuhan and surged in Australia with shops being forced to ration certain items.
Google Trend data over the last 90 days shows searches for ‘toilet paper’ skyrocketed between 4 -21st March, with previous dates showing almost no interest. Similarly, hand sanitizer was sold out opposed to bars of soap, which have been recommended by the NHS in fighting the virus, with people following what the crowds were doing although it didn’t make total sense. Searches for hand sanitizer increased from an interest score of one to 100 in 10 days.
2020 has certainly been an odd year with many weird and shocking things happening. But remember to stay safe and stay indoors!