I’ve not talked much about covid since the beginning of the pandemic. I’m into science not conspiracy theories, and from the beginning I’ve been watching for the best information I could get in the hopes of both staying safe and not spreading infection to others. I consider myself fortunate to be double-jabbed even though I had strong adverse reactions both times.
I wear a mask as much as I can when indoors with unfamiliar people. I’m claustrophobic, I get panic attacks anyway and I find I have a small window of time before the mask becomes panic inducing. Longer distance journeys in a mask mean hours of fighting the panic. I can however usually get in and out of a shop before it all kicks off. Most of my strategy has been to stay away from crowded indoor spaces, to meet friends outside or in private spaces, and to ventilate spaces. When I’ve done events involving people, I’ve been home for days afterwards so as to be unlikely to pose a risk. So far, so good.
In the beginning I was deeply afraid of both the virus and the lockdown. I followed the rules, and I found them really hard. I did not do so out of blind obedience to the government, but out of a desire not to make anyone I care about sick. I have considerable rage where the government is concerned. By winter last year there was plenty of evidence that the virus doesn’t spread much outdoors. We should have been supported and encouraged in moving our lives outside as far as possible. The benefits to people’s livelihoods, and mental health, would have been huge. Instead we spent last winter being told we could only meet outside in pairs if we weren’t in our households.
I’m also furious about the lack of investment in education. Countless uninformed and half-arsed theories circulate out there. Where has been the counter message to explain what vaccines are and how they work? So much of the misunderstanding, and wilful misunderstanding comes from not getting how science works in the first place. Cautious language is normal for science. Theories change as more data comes in – that’s not science failing, it’s science working and yet this is being used to undermine confidence in the research being done. Nothing is a hundred percent. Masks, vaccines, ventilation, social distancing – nothing is one hundred percent guaranteed, but that doesn’t make it useless.
I grieve the deeper divisions in an already divided country. I grieve the way even more people are being pushed deeper into poverty. I grieve the loss of freedom and the loss of life – we’re an island, if our government had reacted swiftly the suffering could have been greatly reduced. I grieve the culture of selfishness that seems to be growing and festering here. I rail against the double standards where regular people have been harassed by the police when they weren’t even breaking rules, and those in power have dramatically flouted the rules and got away with it. We deserved better and we should feel some moral obligation to do better.
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