Irish Examiner View: The message is the same - Stay at home

It is tempting to suggest that those who believed the guff from a Waterford city tanning salon that sunbeds could kill coronavirus should have been left to enjoy their delusion, but that would have been a dangerous indulgence, a cheap trick at this moment of crisis.
Irish Examiner View: The message is the same - Stay at home

It is tempting to suggest that those who believed the guff from a Waterford city tanning salon that sunbeds could kill coronavirus should have been left to enjoy their delusion, but that would have been a dangerous indulgence, a cheap trick at this moment of crisis.

It would have taken the idea of fake news, fake marketing just a shade too far.

Those gullible souls might have contracted and spread the infection, albeit unintentionally — just like everyone else.

The salon reacted by suggesting coronavirus is “one big lie on a global scale... ” but gardaí, thankfully, intervened and the salon has been closed.

That is just one of many regrettable examples of the business opportunism spawned by the pandemic.

There are other responses, some faith-based. In one, Germany’s Aachen Cathedral has disinterred the relics of St Corona, patron saint of resisting epidemics.

The saint’s gold, bronze, and ivory shrine, which has been in storage for 25 years, is to go on show once the pandemic has passed.

According to one version of history, Corona was martyred, along with St Victor, in Syria in 177AD.

Her feast day will be marked on May 14 — just 10 days before Noble laureate Bob Dylan celebrates his 79th birthday.

Like St Corona’s devotees delighted by her re-emergence, Dylan’s millions of followers will be pleased that he has chosen this moment to publish his first new work in eight years.

‘Murder Most Foul’ was quietly released at midnight on Thursday and, as only Dylan can, it treats tragedy a way that nudges listeners towards possibility and optimism.

Catastrophe is winnowed and put in a context that is quietly uplifting.

A 17-minute epic, it focuses on the Kennedy assassination, in Dallas in 1963, and a first reading of the top layer — there are as is usual several — of the piece suggests a celebration of how humanity and powerful ideas endure.

An entirely appropriate and welcome message for this moment.

One of Dylan’s trademark traits is an acidic, sandpaper sense of the absurd.

How he might use that to react to the news that British prime minister Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock have tested positive is anyone’s guess.

However, it is not hard to imagine that the irony of their situation, their contribution to establishing herd immunity in Britain, would go unremarked.

Just hours before ‘Murder Most Foul’ was released, the country showed solidarity and no little sense of gratitude with the medical staff on the coronavirus front line — though at this point it may be more accurate to say the cornavirus trenches.

That recognition was more than deserved as, in our isolated cocoon, the fact that around one third of those infected are medical staff may have escaped widespread recognition.

Many have died too, the first Irish one earlier this week, though none of those asked to help infected patients have refused to do so despite not always having adequate protective clothing.

Recognising that real sacrifice should be enough to convince people to stay away from parks and beaches this weekend but gardaí and local authorities are on high alert to try to avert the dangerous over-crowding so widespread last weekend.

Even on this spring weekend the message is unchanged: Stay at home.

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