(For context, I’m writing on the day that the international stock markets collapsed, at a similar level to the 2008 decimation, all because of COVID-19. Italy has just quarantined the whole country.)

Like most, I have taken a keen interest in the spread of COVID-19, for countless reasons: I’m a parent; I have elderly parents; my firm looks after hundreds of clients, many of whom may pass; and as a business owner, 1/5 of my colleagues are likely to be off sick. It would, therefore, be grossly negligent not to be appraised of the facts.

Quite simply, the spread of COVID-19 has the potential to be as dramatic, as impactful, as a world war. It could be our generation’s worst hour. To write that – that which is clear to me and many – is likely to get me lampooned as some sort of fool; someone who has drunk the COVID-19 hysteria kool aid. I haven’t.

What has become clear to me – from the news, from social media and from my social circles – is that, generally, people with right-wing politics tend to take a different position on what precautions to take, than someone who would describe themselves as not right-wing. I’m careful not to describe this second group as “left-wing” – they are just not right-wing. It’s fascinating! And I don’t think that right-wingers are purposely being objectionable.

Some common right-wingery responses:

1. COVID-19 is no worse than flu – something with Trump has today tweeted, even though the death rate from flu was previously unknown to him.
2. I’m not washing my hands: how dare you tell me what to do.
3. It’s all fake news.
4. Experts – what do they know?

But why? Why do right-wingers – though not all – take such views? And is it deliberate – i.e. are right-wingers asking themselves – “I am right-wing, so this is my position?”