Covid-19 has spawned five distinct personality types. Which one are you?

From Conspiracy Cathy to Party On Palesa, you'll no doubt recognise some of your friends and family members in amongst this bunch

14 June 2020 - 00:00 By Nia Magoulianiti-McGregor
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought out the activist, germaphobe or eco-warrior in some of us.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought out the activist, germaphobe or eco-warrior in some of us.
Image: 123RF


Corona? Just another C-word, baby. Palesa constantly invites you to her "Covert Covid" lunches and is bitterly disappointed when you decline. "We can't isolate forever. We're social animals. Haven't your heard of herd immunity?"

Her hairdresser visits her home to cover her roots. "It's fine, we both wear masks most of the time. And I'm not going grey, dolla, not for any virus."

Palesa's pedicurist also does house calls. "Shame man. She's a mess so I'm doing a public service. Anyway, listen, stockpile some Johnnie Walker, I hear the government is about to ban alcohol again."

When you raise your concern about the lack of social distancing at her parties, she gets a bit peeved: "I feel like you're taking this too seriously. It's like the flu."

She says her massage therapist tells her we're all "gonna get it anyway". "Look how amazingly the Swedes are doing. More deaths than Denmark? Yes, well, we all gonna die one day, dolla."

Most likely to say: "You're being much too compliant. So listen, lunch next week? Don't worry, I'm only inviting a few of my closest friends."

Motto: Party like it's 2019.

Easily recognisable by: Perfect pre-Corona hair and nails and a colourful mask around her chin.


The cigarette ban turned Anna from garden-variety social smoker to hard-core activist and constitutional law expert. "All along Pierre de Vos said their arguments were bullshit! Everything has to comply with the Disaster Management Act. I'd like to know what the National Coronavirus Command Council is smoking!"

She signs loads of online petitions to get rid of "that woman", Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. "She contradicted our poor tired president in public. So emasculating!"

Anna knows what every dealer has ever charged: "On the corner in Green Point? R150 for a packet of Chicago. God only knows what's in it. In Sea Point? R280 for Camels that pop and turn into menthol."

Most likely to say: "Have you seen the pic of her and Mazzotti?"

Motto: First they came for our wine. Then they came for our smokes.

Easily recognisable by: Her chanting of Max Hurrell's video: "When people zol ..."


Gertie is pleased as organic punch that earthlings are finally get their just deserts. "We're the real enemy," she says. But every cloud has a silver lining, even for Gertie: "Yay, no air travel, diminished pollution and lower fossil fuel consumption but yah, pity about all those deaths."

She still likes to believe dolphins were swimming around the canals of Venice, despite fact checkers assuring the rest of us that the image was taken in Sardinia.

"Mother Nature is fighting back by killing us horrible humans," she tweets. Or, "Nature has hit the reset button."

Gertie is ever grateful for this virus, considering it a gift from the universe to bestow her with more alone time, more banana bread recipes, and space to meditate on whether to pivot into charity work or organic vegetable farming.

Most likely to say:"Let's not waste a good crisis."

Motto: Humans are the real virus.

Easily recognisable by: Bamboo drinking straws in her handbag.


There's a conspiracy around every corner for Cathy. "Of course, Covid was manufactured in a lab. And 5G networks are accelerating the spread and actually some are transmitting the virus through radio waves."

Why? "So the lizard people can cull the population. Obviously."

Be afraid, she says, vaccines are at this moment being invented to turn you into a more docile citizen.

Cathy's denialism may offer a degree of order and even comfort in a random and unmanageable universe, but when you ask her how every scientific body in the whole world is colluding with Bill Gates to somehow keep these nefarious plans for world control under wraps, she looks at you pityingly. "Don't be a sheep. Just follow the money."

Most likely to say: "Have you watched Plandemic yet?"

Motto: Connect the dots.

Easily recognisable by: Images of 5G towers on her Facebook feed and frequent use of the words "false narrative".


At last, Naledi's germaphobia is paying dividends. "I've been preparing for this all my life," she smiles, hauling out sanitiser, and spraying your shoes and hands even though you're 2m away.

"I bought about 20 bottles at level 5 and luckily I did, because Dis-Chem took ages to restock."

Naledi has a personal though socially distant relationship with the delivery person from Sixty60. She prefers to exercise inside, but is painfully aware of the importance of vitamin D, which leads to more hand wringing.

"How can you tell the difference between someone who's pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic? You can't. Stay home."

Naledi has stopped stockpiling toilet paper but splashes out on masks, gloves and disinfectant wipes. She WhatsApp videos you daily to give you the breakdown on worldwide death statistics and bemoans the horrors of dying alone in ICU with only a bored nurse for company. "Don't even elbow bump. You just never know!"

Most likely to say: "Brace yourself for the peak."

Motto: We're getting tired. The virus is not.

Easily recognisable by: Her surgical grade mask and raw hands.


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