Pingdemic

pingdemic, noun; see also pandemic

This term surfaced in the UK media during the third wave of the COVID pandemic. It referred to the increased number of NHS COVID app notifications—or ‘pings’—instructing individuals to self-isolate after coming into contact with an infected person. The term featured extensively in newspaper headlines such as ‘Fears over shortages as stores hit by pingdemic’ (The Times, 22 July 2021), and implied that ‘pings’ were responsible for retail staffing crises rather than the 40,000 daily new cases following Prime Minister Johnson’s wholesale lifting of COVID restrictions. This was much like suggesting a smoke alarm be blamed for a house burning down, as opposed to the actual fire or the fire brigade failing to show up. The origin of the term is unclear. Most likely a pun-loving journo after a very boozy lunch.

From Covidiot to Zoombombing: Lexicon of a Pandemic (Oxford 2027), p. 182.

Freedom Day

Talk Show Host: Please put your hands together for our special guest – THE DELTA VARIANT!

*wild applause as Delta waves & takes a seat*

TSH: Such a meteoric rise! Did that surprise you?

Delta: Well, I’m contagious and deadly, so I knew the odds were on my side. But it was really my mates who took me to the next level. Boris ‘Superspreader’ Johnson, I’m looking at you!

TSH: A good pal?

Delta: Oh yes. He let 28,000 potential carriers flood into the UK last April, and now 99% of cases are mine. 30,000 a day and rising! And the best thing? My very own ‘Freedom Day’ on 19 July — the masks are coming off and then it’s paaaarty time!

TSH: So how does that make you feel?

Delta: Incredibly grateful. I’d heard the Tories hated immigrants: Windrush, hostile environment, blah-blah-blah. But I’ve gotta say, I couldn’t feel more welcome on Plague Island.

*turns to camera and winks*

You know what? I think I’ll stay a while.

Stats from https://inews.co.uk/news/indian-variant-42000-passengers-travelled-between-uk-india-april-red-list-covid-variant-1025027 and https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57755733 and https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/cases on 10 July 2021