In denial over Covid, but pretending we’re not



In denial over Covid, but pretending we’re not

A column to satisfy your inner grammar nerd

Deputy features editor: Sunday Times

It is ironic — or perhaps merely unfortunate — that the sideshow involving Thabo Mbeki’s attendance at the ANC’s NEC meeting this week calls to mind the era of HIV/Aids denialism over which the former president presided (and for which he has never adequately apologised, even though his non-action cost the lives of an estimated 330,000 people who might have survived if provided with antiretroviral treatment).

Denialism is again the order of the day, this time with regard to Covid-19. This time, however, it is not the government (thank heavens) that is ignoring life-saving opportunities while trying to find its own localised solution to a global pandemic. It is the citizens of the country, some of whom are gadding about on post-matric Rage trips, while thousands of others throw caution to the wind as they spread their summery wings along with their deadly germs.

“Germ” is an interesting word, but let’s deny its existence for a moment and get back to denialism and its parent verb, deny, which has as many meanings as there are vote recounts in the US. In both cases, all turn out to mean pretty much the same thing...

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