On RATs and Nice

A few months ago a half-formed idea about idea about continuing to take pandemic precautions, being kind to each other, and dumb luck began to take shape. The idea was in the context of my favourite human (@StellaGRN) testing positive to COVID-19, and me not.

Same precautions. Same knowledge-base/education. Same vaccination status. Same workplace. Same bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and sofa. Different results.

Follow the science. Hope for luck.

Follow the science. Hope for luck. (don’t do it the other way round)

I – a mental health nurse – didn’t get around to progressing that half-formed line of thought into something coherent. Then in early July I stumbled across a twitter thread by Trent Yarwood – an infection diseases physician. Trent articulated my half-formed ideas about following the science and hoping for luck (not the other way round) better than I could have.

With Trent’s permission, that Twitter thread has been copied and pasted below:

There’s plenty to be upset about in the pandemic.

It’s ruined our social lives, stuffed up our travel plans. More importantly, it’s killed millions of people, disabled some, forced people out of work and had a myriad of other effects.

You can make a pretty solid argument that the public health communication has been woeful. Frequently changing, late, technically complex, not always helpful.

You could equally talk about the incredible difficulty in communicating uncertainty about a rapidly changing situation, balancing the needs of “you told us this at 5pm Friday” vs “why did you wait the whole weekend to tell us this”.

You can (and people have) done entire careers’ worth of research on techniques for best practice in doing this sort of communication.

But the CHOs (and the talking heads) haven’t all done PhDs in risk comms, so they didn’t always get it right. Just like the advice which turned out to be not-entirely correct with the advancement of knowledge and time was – unless you are tin-foil-hatter – the best it could be at the time it was delivered.

But here’s a few questions to ponder.

Imagine you’re late for work. Is it because:
a) you didn’t leave early enough to have some slack
b) that dickhead in the volvo was in the right lane?


You’ve had a minor surgical procedure and the wound has gotten infected. Is it because:
a) Sometimes, Staph happens.
b) The surgeon must have done something wrong

Your washing machine has just broken and ruined your favourite 80s band t-shirt. Is it because:
a) it’s 10 years old and it’s had a good life
b) your landlord is a tightarse and bought dodgy-brand


What is your locus of control?

Is someone else (God, fate, other stupid dickheads) responsible for everything that happens in your life? Or do you make the best of what you have and sometimes, chance fucks you over?

If you’ve been through relationship counselling, you’ll know that they tell you that you can’t hope to change the other person, you can only change yourself. So is being angry at the dickheads “who gave you COVID” going to change the way they behave? Or is it just going to make you angry?

And finally, don’t forget it’s baked into the name. Pandemic: pan-demos – all of the people.

Railing against inevitability is a pretty sure way to make yourself miserable.

Of course this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing what we can to reduce transmission. But take control of the things you can.

Get your third (or fourth) dose. Encourage your friends to do the same.

Physically distance. Stay home if you have symptoms.

Mask.

Wash your hands

And finally, be nice to each other.

Isn’t the world shitty enough already?

ID EQ BC and AD

Trent’s articulation of emotional intelligence (EQ) isn’t unique for someone with an Infectious Diseases (ID) and/or public health background. This is evidenced below by two tweets from BC (Before Covid) and one from AD (After Disaster).

🙂

End Notes

Sincere thanks to Trent Yarwood for permission to reproduce his Twitter thread. The original thread can be accessed here and is collated here. To find out more about Trent follow him on Twitter (@trentyarwood) and/or check-out his profile and articles on The Conversation.

As always, your feedback is welcome via the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 20 September 2022

Short URL meta4RN.com/RATs

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