Tribune While the authorities have taken very restrictive measures to fight against the second wave of the epidemic, which themselves announce possible new deprivations of freedoms and a procession of bankruptcies and difficulties for many sectors and many families, we fear that the lack of consensus on the acceptable level of risk in society will lead to deep divisions in its social body and an atmosphere which, without a bad pun, is akin to the dirty air of fear.
In this regard, the current health crisis is reminiscent, in certain aspects, of the nuclear accident in Fukushima which occurred almost ten years ago. From this, we have above all retained the consequences in terms of irradiation and pollution, economic losses or energy policies, while its social dimensions have often been neglected.
Thus, one of its consequences was the dramatic increase in the number of divorces, especially for couples who were parents. The cause was often a different understanding of the risk: for mothers, the priority was to ensure the health of their children, and to leave contaminated areas as quickly as possible; for fathers, it was to ensure the financial security of the family, therefore to stay so as not to lose their job.
An absence of anticipation
More broadly, the same fractures appeared between those who wanted to leave and those who wanted to stay, or had no other choice. Between those who questioned the authorities’ word on the dangerousness of radiation and those who chose to trust the official records.
The virus is not radioactivity: it is transmitted from one individual to another. But like her, it is invisible, nestles everywhere and raises all the questions and controversies about its dangerousness. Zero risk is a pipe dream, and life in society involves certain risks. The spring containment measures had been well accepted by the population because they were presented as strictly temporary, before a return to normal – or abnormal, for the many people who aspired to a “world after” .
We had hardly anticipated that the virus would be with us for several months, if not several years. And that measures that we thought were temporary would be installed over time, starting with restrictions on fundamental freedoms. Already, some denounce a “health tyranny”, others take refuge in absurd conspiracy theories, while some accuse the “reassuring” experts of being responsible for the second wave of the epidemic and call for more severe measures . And it is likely, in fact, that other more drastic measures will be announced in France in the coming weeks.
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