Dear COVID-19,

Well, aren’t you just the flavour of the month?

It’s been interesting to see some other health issue get all the attention for a bit. Suddenly the conspiracy theorists and alternative medicine wellness gurus are focused on you and that’s meant that some of the pressure has been taken off me. I don’t think I’ve heard one ‘<insert weird root vegetable> cures diabetes’ message in weeks. I’m almost missing it.

I’ve been watching as the usual suspects come out in force, touting all sorts of miracle cures to send you on your way. I’ve rolled my eyes as a veritable feast of different foods, drugs, sunshine and blowing hot air in your face have been offered up as THE cure. And lemon water. Because you know that cures everything, right? Oh, and perineum sunning. Yes, really. (You may not want to look that one up…)

But along with the shaking my head at these ideas, I’ve despaired as healthcare professionals, researchers and public health campaigners have been dragged away from their important and necessary work to have to respond to idiots like Pete Evans and some footballer’s wife and everyone’s Great Aunt Maude. And the US President.

So, who else has been hogging the spotlight during this time of isolation?

The tone deaf have been making a lot of noise, insisting that people embrace this new found simpler way of life, and start an organic no dig herb garden, salute the sun every morning (I think this is different to the perineum sunning, but I’m not sure), begin roasting coffee beans for a real authentic South American caffeine hit, make ricotta from scratch, and train for a marathon by running around your kitchen table, all while starting a cottage business making candles out of the wax collected from the bees you’re now keeping on the roof. This, of course, ignores the fact that most people are struggling to find basic food staples, or can’t afford them if they do find them because they’ve found their hours at work significantly cut. The idea of doing anything that involves getting off the couch is too much for lots of people. And the only reason anyone would be on their roof is because it’s the only place to get away from the family and the dog.

Really, it’s all very well to photograph yourself picking rosemary from the carefully cultivated hedge that surrounds the veggie patch on the perfectly lit balcony of your inner-city apartment, to throw over the home delivered, grass-fed, organic lamb you’ve been slow roasting all day as you’ve worked from your perfectly curated home office, complete with fresh flowers and candles burning. But to suggest that everyone do the same because, really, it’s fresh, quick and easy? Now might be a really good time to check that extreme privilege you have on show on your constantly updated grid.

And the anti-vaxxers have been getting their 15 minutes of fame again. They started by contradicting the stay home rules by suggesting they all hang out together in parks, with their kids. And then shouting ‘in the pockets of big pharma’ to any scientist offering decent data and evidence on how to stay safe. They’ve already started their usual bullshit about any potential future vaccine being made of mercury, asbestos, pig poo, the tears of dictators and waste from Chernobyl and how they’ll be avoiding getting the vaccine like the plague. (Which they won’t get anyway because their immune systems have been super-boosted by lemon water and holding measles parties.)

Sure, COVID-19, you may be new, but I’ve seen all this before. The cures, the anti-vaxxers, the Instagram influencers – they’ve been around for years. They’ve just turned their attention to you now. They’re probably grateful that you’ve given them some new material. I mean, how many photos can the influencer of the moment share of the latest green smoothie or teatox craze, promising that this is the way to stop post-meal insulin spikes (or something)? We were all getting a little tired of that garbage.

Enjoy your moment in the sun (again, I’m not talking perineum sunning), because eventually, there will be a vaccine. That’s right: dictators will have cried enough tears, or whatever the active ingredient will be, and your time will be over. But don’t worry. I’ll still be here, waiting for a Kardashian (or US President) to come up with some other harebrained idea about what can cure me.