A British commercial, first reported on by Infowars, shows the beloved Santa Claus being wheeled in on a gurney with an oxygen mask.
Nurses and doctors then render him back to full health and discharge him on Christmas Eve.
The 90-second spot closes with a nurse discovering a gift that thanks her for all that frontline workers have done.
On one level it’s a touching tribute that resonates on an emotional level with the same saccharine holiday sentimentality as a Hallmark movie or the Coca–Cola polar bears.
On another level, though, the exploitative nature of the video—a fundraising call for the NHS’s charity support groups—seems problematic not so much for its use of St. Nick as for its use of the pandemic.
In fairness, the video does not expressly list Santa’s condition as COVID.
He does not appear to be in an isolation ward, as the video shows his room in close proximity to a pediatric ward where children are trimming a tree.
But the implication, regardless, is that Santa is on the brink of death, with one nurse asking, “Is he responding?”
According to Infowars, some viewers were less than merry about it.
“Disgusting video and one any children should not be seeing. Totally politicising COVID with Santa. What were you thinking,” asked one online comment.
“If anyone thinks that this ad is either clever or funny or poignant they are sadly deluded,” said another.
In the US, at least, the pandemic does appear poised to kill many Christmas celebrations—but less so due to the disease itself than the restrictive lock-downs.
Blue-state governors, seeing a recent uptick in cases, have issued new restrictions including curfews, mask orders and caps on the number of people allowed to gather for religious services—ignoring clear signals from the US Supreme Court that such restrictions may be unconstitutional.
Despite the apparent rise in recent cases, several vaccines and treatment programs are looming on the horizon, and the overall case-fatality rate continues to decline.
The US rate, which peaked at 6.2% in April and May, has since dipped below 2%, while the global rate holds steady at 2.3%.
Many Americans who were most severely stricken by the virus have been elderly residents of nursing home that were forced, during preliminary quarantines, to co-mingle healthy and infected patients.
Left-wing riots, particularly those in high-density urban areas, and celebrations following the yet-unconfirmed electoral victory of Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden may also have played a role in exposing high-risk, low-income patients to the virus.
The mortality rate in England, which has a socialized public healthcare system, was significantly higher. At its peak in late April, the virus claimed more than 15% of all infected patients. However, that number has now dropped to 3.5%.