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The most dangerous moment so far 13/05/2020

Posted by chrisdshaw in Uncategorized.
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I’m old enough to remember when time progressed in a broadly linear fashion. It was pretty easy remember the day of the week, if not necessarily the day- the opposite applied once a year between Christmas and New Year. The spacetime continuum ruptured in mid March with the lockdown. Britain’s favourite manic depressive Stephen Fry was asked at the start of the lockdown what would be the greatest change people would notice. He said that time would take on a new dimension. He was absolutely right. Time has never been the same since. The last two weeks in March seemed like an eternity. April lasted three days.

It is incredible to think that it was less than two weeks ago when we looked on in horror at the prospect of many US states ending the lockdown without any significant fall in deaths or cases. What kind of death cult had taken over such a previously stable functioning democracy that would lead to governors willing to sacrifice the lives of their citizens to restart the economy or worse- a tweet of approval from Trump? I heard reports of a type of peer pressure one associates with school about being bold, strong and needing to shed paranoia about a virus everyone was sicking of hearing about.

Fast forward to to this week and the UK finds itself in a semi-lifting of a mild lockdown while death rates remain stubbornly high. Criminally confusing messages by Johnson on Sunday 10th May in an address to the nation, and then a statement in the Commons the following day was series of contradictory messages about easing, but with the main message: if you cannot work from home, you need to go to work. Shops are opening, business are back and while there is serious unease about the lack of clarity from the Government about what is permissible there is a palpable sense of relief that “we are all returning back to normal”. Reception year pupils are due to return to school on 1 June, and rightwing newspaper columnists are rounding on “lazy school teachers” voicing concerns about their public safety. You can feel the mood is a lot closer to the US mood of elation and frustration with people who were still acting like this was, oh I don’t know, the most terrifying public health emergency we have faced in a century. I am largely shielded from this, as my company has made clear that we will most likely be working from home for many months yet. Most of my friends are in the same boat. Our youngest daughter will not be returning to school under any circumstances until the next academic year and we will continue to shield ourselves, particular against an almost inevitable stronger and more deadly second wave in the next month or so. We are lucky to be in our socio-economic group. Many many others are not. An avoidable massacre looks like to take place, with the casualties disproportionately made up of the poorer and more vulnerable in society.

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