On Disappointment

People in this country believe the pandemic is over. The Government said so. The Government lifted all our restrictions in July and the people have jumped off the ship into the stormy ocean of Covid-19. We are at a million and a half cases a month …. 5,000,000 confirmed cases since the first of July, four months ago … over double what it was after the first 15 months of living with Covid-19.

Hospitalisations are on the upswing. In the seven days prior to 3 November, almost 10,000 were hospitalised with about 10% of those in intensive care.

Schools are having outbreaks all over the country. One school in our county had 130 cases amongst children and staff in two weeks. These are not huge schools, such as we see in North America. There aren’t several thousand students at these schools. And their parents have refused to honour what the Head Teacher has requested and send their kids in with face masks.

Deaths numbers have gone up by almost 20,000 in the same time frame, from 128,000 at the end of June to 142,000, today.

But the Government, being led by Covidiots of the first order, blithely refuses to accept that perhaps, we have a problem. The vaccination boosters are in full swing. They are depending on that. Too bad so many are refusing to have them. Face masks are voluntary but people have been advised to continue wearing them. But too many are not.

Why should the public wear them when the ruling party at Westminster regularly shows up in Parliament without them, despite the Speaker of the House of Commons requesting they be worn? The photos from Parliament, with the Opposition side of the house almost all wearing face masks, seated opposite the Tories, almost all of whom are not.

Why should the general public observe this simple precaution to protect others, when the Prime Minister is photographed at a COP26 meeting, seated between 95 year old David Attenborough and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres who is 72, without a face mask. Now, he says he was following the rules of the event. It’s the usual, if you will excuse the pun, COP-out that you hear all over in this. “But I was obeying the rules.” Obeying the rules vs observing the spirit of the rules. The country is rife with this.

Sometimes, leadership means doing more than merely obeying the rules. It means being an example to your people of what they need to be doing, even if you don’t believe in it yourself. If you want the people to take something seriously, you must be seen to be taking it seriously yourself.

Which brings me to why I am particularly crushed this morning. You see, we were supposed to have our best friend over last night. Being in a vulnerable household, we have played it extremely safe. We wear our face masks to protect those around us when we are out and we have maintained relative isolation. The only people we have socialised with have been our best friend and her partner … twice … both times dinner on a restaurant patio after they’d had both their jabs.

Now that we’ve had our boosters, Pfizer to bolster our AstraZeneca jabs last spring, we thought it would be safe to have her over to our house for the first time since the beginning of March 2020, for a night of silly fun, watching Mama Mia, drinking prosecco and dancing.

We had the cleaners in on Thursday (they are up-to-date with the vaccine and wear face masks while cleaning our house following specific protocols). The dogs were supposed to be groomed yesterday, but the groomer had to cancel because she’s ‘really not very well’. “Oh well,” we thought, “the puppy won’t be perfectly clean the first time they meet. No big deal.”

As we were getting ready ourselves, happily showering, shaving, putting on a bit of make-up, dressing up a bit because we were so thrilled to be able to have her over, the phone rang.

Our best friend has just heard that the couple they had dinner with last Sunday had been exposed to Covid at a party they were at the previous night, and one of them now has tested positive for Covid. Which means that our best friend and her partner were both exposed and are within the 14 day incubation period.

She felt that although she isn’t feeling sick, knowing the lengths we are going to and why, she thought she’d best let us know and give us the option of postponing our evening. We do appreciate that. Absolutely. She offered to take one of the lateral flow tests, if we wanted. The friend she was visiting when she called has some (as do many households). She wanted to make sure we were OK with that, but she would understand if we wanted to wait, just to be sure.

I could only put my head in my hands. A million and a half cases a month, and most of the population believes that the pandemic is over. Because the Government says it is. Technically, the words haven’t come out of their mouths. Their behaviour, however, says it quite clearly.

“Too many people are behaving as if the pandemic is over,” my sweetheart said. “Your friends are idiots.”

“Well, I guess so,” she said in their defence, “but the Government has said it is.”

“Sweetie,” my husband said, “I think we need to postpone. Just to be safe.”

We are the ones paying the price. ‘We’ being all of those who have had no fun, no holidays, no respite from all of this, because we are vulnerable. We don’t have the luxury of behaving like idiots. For us, this is our lives. Unending isolation until the case numbers come down again. I am so depressed, angry and disappointed, I can hardly see straight.

The Government is an ass. As is a large portion of the population. I can only wonder what they would do if the Prime Minister jumped off the top of Big Ben. Probably follow him. After all, if the Government thinks it’s safe ….

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