The Spanish Flu pandemic that lasted from February 1918 to April 1920 killed between 20 to 100 million people and infected up to one third of the global population at the time, or 500 million people. Depending upon the estimates, this was the deadliest pandemic since the black death of the 1300s. Nobody was vaccinated, and it never went away, yet the number of deaths from this novel influenza virus in 1921 was effectively zero.

As surely as pandemics happen, and will happen again, it is also sure that pandemics end.

Covid-19 is a tragedy on many dimensions. To save lives we have all made incredible sacrifices on behalf the vulnerable, the elderly and those with significant co-morbidities who are deeply concerned about becoming infected. Vaccination technology has advanced rapidly to meet the need of the crisis, which will save many lives through the long tail of the pandemic, should it continue to spread into 2022. What we know is that, like the Spanish Flu, Covid-19 will become endemic, something we live with as a normal coronavirus or rhinovirus, and in the rare cases where vaccination fails to prevent serious illness doctors will have robust treatment protocols. Covid will be, and arguably is already at the time you are reading this, a known quantity.

Unfortunately a moment which should have galvanised society together in a united front has become politically charged and nerves are fraying. A life without purpose is a life without meaning, and human beings are communal by nature, we find our purpose in each other, like rivers coming into confluence to form larger rivers destined for the sea. What can seem trivial or frivolous to some people on the outside, like dancing or sport or basic human contact, is essential to the formation of healthy relationships and communities. Whatever your political persuasion, if we emerge from this pandemic treating each other as carriers of infectious diseases, or in some cases even carriers of dangerous misinformation, rather than human beings with unique purpose and potential, we will emerge a poorer and less humane society.

Tuvens is a platform for facilitating the organisation and coordination of in-person events and online gatherings, but we do not organise any events ourselves and we don’t advocate that people create events that are prohibited in their legal jurisdiction. We recommend that all of our partner organisers to work within their local legal and moral constraints. Every place is different, every culture sets its own priorities and ways of navigating the virus. This is not a competition, nor an opportunity for recrimination and settling political scores.

Tuvens will endeavour to suppress misinformation, about covid-19 or anything else, not by infringing on freedom of speech but by targeting the root causes of misinformation, which is the attention-based business model prevalent in social media that is based upon feeding us more and more information that affirms our existing beliefs.

The way to fight covid is to create an environment that fosters confluence and community and helps people come to shared values that are not externally imposed. Group cohesion and coordination are a necessary foundation to deliver on the solutions created by scientific advisors, whether they be testing (PCR or Antigen), contact tracing or vaccination. Without group cohesion every single one of those measures will fail.

And the political discord created and caused by ad funded social media, through the spread of misinformation and targeted confirmation bias, directly inhibits the capacity of governments and health systems to meet the enormous challenges of covid-19.

Where your local authority recommends mandatory mask wearing, we recommend following those guidelines. Where your local authority recommends limited numbers or tighter protocols for managing the spread amongst guests & participants, we recommend following those guidelines.

But if we can do our little bit here at Tuvens to help suppress the virus and save lives, it will be to bring people together, to engender more trust and less acrimony and recrimination.

If you wish to discuss covid safety amongst your own community, please be respectful of each other’s varying opinions and levels of risk tolerance, assume good faith, and remember that you are talking to human beings with diverse priorities and values. Disagreements are healthy and desirable, even on core values. A community that cannot critically assess its own core values has a name, its called a cult.

But do not take anything you read anywhere on as authoritative public health advice. Organizers should always refer to their local authorities and public health officials for restrictions and recommendations. There you will ideally find information about:

  • Vaccination
  • Ventilation
  • Disinfectant
  • Social distancing
  • Contact tracing
  • PCR testing
  • Rapid antigen testing
  • Masks

In the meantime, Tuvens aims to support curate online gatherings so people can stay as close as possible.