No, the novelty still hasn’t worn off. We are being good humoured about the shutdown and it feels almost remarkable how quickly we have all adapted to standing in staggered lines, following taped distance lines on the floor, and stepping into the road to make space for other walkers or waiting for someone else to pass.
But this is now. Only 8 days have passed.
If you make the mistake of watching non-stop news coverage, you are likely to be slowly turning mad. The coverage is disproportionately negative or just focused on the personal tragedies and the challenges that are being faced by all the emergency service personnel and above all the NHS Staff who are involved.
Nobody could or should try to take away what is happening for the real people and patients on the front line. But a big problem for us all is that the very nature of media and television today gives the immediate impression that all of this is what is actually happening right now in our front rooms.
Yes, the risk that any of us could go through the same is very real. But the reality of Coronavirus itself is that it will not affect everyone the same.
However, the response, or rather the shutdown has already effected us all, and it’s going to affect us all a whole lot more. It’s affecting many people in ways that may not already, but soon will be causing them – and perhaps you – a great deal of pain. The chain reaction of debt, homelessness and businesses closing down is likely to become like a never-ending downward cycle where the impact will be multiplied as it ripples out more and more and starts to impact on all of us, not just as individuals, but as a whole.
Like most meanings lurking in the subtext and hidden in plain sight of all current political speak, the elephant in the room behind all the daily Downing Street Briefings is this shutdown in its current form cannot end either until everyone has caught the Virus (this dreadful term ‘Herd Immunity’), or a Vaccination has been found, tested and rolled out so that everyone is know to be immune.
Testing on the scale that would make it practical for everything to return to normal isn’t available and is unlikely to be so anytime soon. In fact, the Government managed to conduct around only 7000 tests last Saturday – whereas across the UK we have a total population of 60,000,000 or more.
When and if large scale antibody testing is available, the problem remains that many of us will to have caught the Virus and we still don’t know if people can catch Covid-19 multiple times. So if everyone were just allowed to return to normal at that point, there could again be a significant peak and demand for the NHS, and we could end up having a repeat of the shutdown any number of times.
Whilst the Government has the power to maintain the Shutdown or indeed to make it worse, it is very questionable for it to do so in these circumstances, because in terms of all of the knock-on effects, impacts and consequences that are hitting people and affecting our lives in other ways.
The Shutdown – or a series of them – cannot go on or be maintained for the many months that are now being talked about as a bare minimum. To do so will break what is left of the economy, any ability the Government still had to reduce the National Debt will evaporate and the inadequacy of the financial help given even to people who think they are safe now will make life difficult for so many people that the solution to the Coronavirus problem will have turned out to be significantly worse for the majority of people than it will have been to facilitate the cure or rather treatment of the few.
That is of course is if the consent of the Public for the Government to rule in this way should remain the same as it is now. Odds are that it won’t.
We know that many people have probably already had Covid-19, or that they will suffer very mild symptoms if they do. At some point soon, the emphasis will have to shift from everyones lives being stopped to focus on preventing people catching the Virus, to allowing everyone to restart and get on with life, then only focusing on what happens when they contract Covid-19 when they do.
The current approach is solely focused on preventing the NHS from becoming overwhelmed without real consideration for how the shutdown to facilitate this is impacting on every other part of life. The shutdown is based on too many variables, unknowns and the fear that has taken on a disproportionate value in the reality and thinking of politicians and their advisers who are only equipped to think subjectively and not objectively about the wider picture and the problems that their actions are going to cause.
As soon as the great British Companies and collaborations that have come together to build ventilators and support the expansion of the NHS effort have done their stuff and there are field hospitals set up around the Country to support a realistic level of critical need, it is essential that the Country be allowed to return to work and our normal activities are allowed to resume.
The hard truth is that not everyone will be ill at the same time, even with no social distancing in place, and that whatever happens a still significant number of the people infected with Covid-19 will regrettably die. We all have to accept that just like cancer, accidents, many other lesser-known diseases, illnesses and medical conditions – and of course the seasonal or winter flu, this is just another route added to an inevitable list of reasons from which all bodies will at some point die.
Rather than turning the UK into a Police state, it would be much better for the Government – to treat EVERYONE like the adults, responsible parents and carers that the majority are and put in place the systems and procedures that will encourage people to present themselves either for care and treatment or self-isolation as many already are. If nobody is going to lose out in any way by doing the right thing, it will work effectively and efficiently as everything restarts and keeps running. Then before you know it, ‘Herd Immunity’ or whatever you name you want to call the place where we actually need to be will become a real thing.