So today, 19th of July 2021, Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted in England. The government have advised people to ‘use their discretion’ in regards to mask-wearing and social distancing. I can’t help but question, is it really ‘Freedom Day’ if you’re now more scared than you’ve been in weeks about getting covid?
I have several chronic illnesses, (fibromyalgia, ehler-danlos syndrome and postural orthostatic tachycardia) as a result, I’ve been relatively cautious since March 2020 so as not to become sick. I am at risk, due to these conditions attacking my immune system, and I am also obese. I cannot say I have always been perfect at following the rules, but I have always worn my mask in public spaces and tried my best to maintain a distance between myself and others. Anyone I’ve been closer to, once rules allowed, I’ve been selective about. I’ve opted only to be vulnerable with those I know to have taken the restrictions seriously. Suddenly, this all feels more difficult. The relaxing of the rules in England saw a huge spike in cases, and the NHS becoming once more, overwhelmed and now suddenly we are treating it as though Covid is no more serious than a common cold.
I know everyone is tired of the fear, of the rules, of staying away from loved ones. I really do know these things, but when will we realise that things aren’t going to get better for a long while? Yes, you can now go into lots of shops in England without a face mask if you wish, but at what cost? Can you confidently now see your grandparents knowing you’re not putting them at risk?
On the school run this morning, I was relieved to see lots of parents and teachers still wearing their face-coverings. I did not feel alone in my fear, the thought of getting sick and not being able to care for my children, or worse, one of them becoming sick is terrifying. I feel as though people are treating the vaccines as though they are now impervious to the virus when we’ve seen that’s not the case.
We missed out on so much in the past 18 months due to covid, and I can’t help but feel we will miss out on so much more for a few short weeks of freedom. I feel so much for businesses that will face problems for trying to continue with the restrictions. I am fortunate, I have no employees, and I work from my home address. My only real change in processes has been a reduction in visits to the post office, an increase in handwashing and sanitising, and quarantining any new stock, I will only really have an issue if I become sick and cannot fulfil orders for 10 days. Other small independent businesses wanting to continue with face-coverings and social distancing will be subject to abuse, there’s no doubt about it, we’ve already seen people abusing the medical exemption rule and openly bragging about it on social media. We’ve seen the invisible illness sunflower scheme well and truly decimated by people denying covid and not being willing to wear face-coverings. It’s made things harder for people who genuinely cannot wear one, they don’t feel safe outside in shops. I’ve seen people advised to isolate take their kids out to the park around other children. I’ve seen people have huge parties or go on multiple dates or hookups. I’m not sure the general public can use their discretion as advised. The scenes after the Euro 2020 football matches are enough to show people don’t always think about the safety of themselves or those around them. Look where it’s got us so far!
To blatantly ignore the advice of scientists advising against this feels deliberate. I’ve seen today referred to as “Cull the Vulnerable and Anti-Vacc Day” and it’s hard to argue with that. I cannot fathom the actions of a man who was admitted to ICU with his covid symptoms being so willing to put others through the same, how many more people have to die, Mr Johnson?
Be kind to those around you who are fearful. Please. It’s taking a lot for me to leave the house and take my kids to school right now, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Maybe you’re ready to lose the mask and the 2m distance, but I’m not. It could literally cost some of us our lives.