MANY an opinion has been shared on the so-called great start to the mass vaccination programme. Slaps on the back and boasts all round by the government and scientists as they excitedly tell us the numbers vaccinated and the projections for when different age groups ‘could be’ done. Forgive us for not sharing the jubilation.
We are still reeling from the continued shutdown and disproportionate restrictions that we have had forcibly put on us for almost a year of our lives. That’s one whole year (likely more) we will never get back. I don’t think people understand the weight of what has happened and what has been taken from us without adequate justification.
Many have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, children have had their education irrevocably damaged, there’s a colossal mental and physical (non-Covid) health toll which will stalk us for the rest of our lives, and relationships have been devastated by a mandatory distance.
These are only a few of the impacts. There are many more we know about but there are also the invisible impacts which we will begin to understand only in the months and years to come. I feel so sad that we have had to deal with this. Psychologically we have faced an onslaught. We have been crushed.
There have been sustained attacks by the media who have branded rule-breakers ‘Covidiots’ and nonsensically labelled them a ‘source’ of the spread. Not forgetting the phrase ‘killing granny’. If you follow the rules, you’re good; if you don’t, you’re dangerous and irresponsible. We have felt the full force of a 24/7 news cycle, with breaking news being leaked to favoured journalists first then informing us, the general public, as an afterthought. Morning newspaper headlines about late-night edicts cause us to despair at profound changes in how we’re going to be allowed to live. We have been criminalised and fined for going out for walks with one another whilst having a takeaway coffee, sitting on public benches and driving to beauty spots for a walk in the fresh air. It’s been the year of heavy-handed police, Covid marshals and security at the entrances of supermarkets chastising us if we aren’t wearing masks with a grim lack of consideration for those of us with a hidden disability.
We can’t work normally. Our children can’t go to school. We can’t see our friends or family to celebrate or mourn at big life events including birthdays, weddings and funerals. We can’t visit our elderly relatives in care homes. We can’t go to the pub or restaurants. We can’t go to the theatre, gym, cinema, sports events, concerts or religious mass/ceremonies. We can’t go to the beauty salon, hairdressers or barbers. We can’t go on holiday in the UK or abroad. We can’t go shopping normally. We can’t get a GP or dental appointment.
The democracy our ancestors fought so hard for has been trodden on and is now a dim and distant memory. The ‘opposition’ parties, one in particular, which have the power to block these attacks on our freedoms and make a difference offer us no let-up – rather on most occasions supporting tougher and longer lasting restrictions.
Every day it feels like most in the media (politicians, journalists, scientists, professors) have a monumental lack of compassion, empathy and understanding of what the public have been going through.
Lockdown has caused far more destruction than we can ever recover from. Forgive us if we don’t feel like celebrating the success of the mass vaccine rollout. It’s come at the cost of our lives.