My Covid Conundrum #thoughtpiece

We’ve been going at this for weeks now. The lockdown rules, here in the UK are easing, though there are as many voices wanting more freedom as there are wishing we were still fully locked down. First June saw some schools restart – not that they all shut anyway – and the steps were tentative. There’s an upcoming quarantine on all visitors to the UK – 14 days – which has led to dire warnings that it will mean the end of our airline industry and tourism too.

The tension that is now at the heart of each step, each new rule or guideline is between the assessment of the health risks versus the assessments of the economic risks.

And trying to balance the two leads me to some very uncomfortable thoughts. I’d love to say ‘conclusions’ but I can’t and therein lies the rotten centre of these debates.

In the last few days I’ve ventured into a cafe to buy a takeaway coffee and queued for a supermarket – my children have been doing our shopping, bless them. But even as I’ve marvelled at the continued patience of Londoners to queue in ways unheard of 12 weeks ago – though of course there are always those who talk about the British obsession with queuing which at least around here ended with pound notes and stay press trousers – I wonder…

Will we break these new habits? If we queue two metres apart still, if we give such wide berths to other walkers, so much so that no longer are drain covers and potholes the main bane of cyclists but now it’s dancing pedestrians, appropriating the gutter as the new pavement; if we pull up our scarfs on entering shops and buses… when will we feel confident enough to stop, to form a throng, to ease forward to try and get onto the bus before the woman with the buggy – maybe that’s just me?

What, in short will it take for our national confidence in the world we once knew to return?

Is it antibody tests showing we’ve achieved a herd immunity? Unlikely because even though the early signs are a lot more people have had the virus than previously thought. And anyway how long does immunity last?

Is it track and trace, or however it is now branded, the silver bullet? Unlikely because that works for those with symptoms and the more evidence of asymptotic ‘silent’ carriers the greater the belief that track and trace is more sticking and plaster.

Is it a vaccine? Will there be one? I’ve heard that if they do find a workable vaccine it would a first for a coronavirus. And anyway, if one is found it is still likely to be a way off.

What seems obvious to me is that none of the above are likely to emerge either at all or in anything like a short – aka reasonable – period, with sufficient coverage to give us a sense that this is ‘over’. ‘Over’ is a long way off.

So if I go back to schools, what happens in September? Surely we cannot still have a patchy limited return? Surely most schools can’t suddenly cut class sizes – they’ve been trying to bring them down ever since I was aware of what a school was. Will parents be prepared to go back to the old normal, without one of the above giving them real confidence, and allow their children to return? What of understandably nervous teachers? If not then, when? Will home schooling take off and if so what happens to the work the home schooling parent was doing, what about the drop in income?

Or shops? How long will we queue as we do now? How long is it sustainable to see the pavements snaking with those queues? When all the shops reopen on the 15th, the pavements will look like some sort of retail Pokemon Go game as shoppers weave in and out of others while trying to keep whatever the recommended distance is. There’s talk of reducing it to one metre but even so, even if that happens, that’s rationing on a more generous scale but it’s still rationing. And it inevitably has an impact.

And that’s before we consider the visitor quarantine and the pubs and clubs and bars and restaurants. They’re not slated to open until July or beyond and then it’ll be only those that can keep people apart. The cosy crowded pub is, if not a thing of the past, then at least at risk of being rendered obsolete through perceived health necessity.

And as for crowded sports fixtures and rock concerts – those sweaty heaving masses so beloved of people with strong backs and sharp elbows… when will that be allowed again?

And even if… no, let’s be optimistic, when those situations are allowed to return, will we, the Great British public, renowned (at least amongst ourselves) for our fortitude and resilience, be prepared to join in? How ingrained have these social distancing habits become? Will we – let’s call it as it is – have the steel balls (or ovaries, depending on your gonads) to go back into crowds and breath in another’s cough or sneeze? Because that’s what it will take.

If we don’t, and if we don’t get used to that idea again, by the end of this year at the latest, I would predict the economic consequences will indeed by dire. Whether we like the way our society is structured economically or not, it’s the only working model we have and it needs to be fully functioning if we are to generate the sort of national income we will need to pay off our new debts. If it isn’t then the job losses will be more severe than they are currently looking likely to be and the health and social consequences will be more dire than even this pandemic has caused to date.

I’m not happy about getting on a bus, even with the new compulsory mask-wearing rules, going into a crowded shop, seeing my dentist or, goodness, and I never thought I would say this, going to see a cricket or rugby international. And for this summer at least, that’s how it will stay. But I know inside my more rational self, I will have to bite those bullets, come September, or sooner than will be comfortable. I’m fortunate to be pretty fit with no known underlying health issues and I fully appreciate that for others not like me they will need more time. But for their sakes and this country generally, I have to be focused on coming out of my own lockdown and the sooner the better, frankly.

After all we went into lockdown to ensure the NHS was not overwhelmed and whatever we might think of our government’s overall response to this crisis – which falls somewhere between shabby and shambolic, that was achieved. Now, it’s time to accept that I must move on. Yes, that involves risk but I cannot hide behind waiting until it is safe, if by that I mean risk free. I will never be risk free. I need to apply a common sense to getting back to where I was and that means I need to be brave.

What about you? How do you see your own personal lockdown ending? Do you? Do you think you’re new normal means there are aspects of your life, BC, that will never return or are so far beyond comprehension that they are as good as gone?

And when – logic tells it’s not an if – the next pandemic hits, we need to be better prepared, of course – we couldn’t have been worse prepared as is now becoming apparent – but equally we cannot afford to pull a set of national duvet days as we have with this lockdown. We need to allow more common sense and less parenting-by-government.

And because this is unusually gloomy for me, here’s a picture or two of Dog. He remains sunny side up…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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66 Responses to My Covid Conundrum #thoughtpiece

  1. trifflepudling says:

    Your thought processes mirror mine exactly! It is all far from clear.
    I’ve been going shopping occasionally since the start and everyone has been friendly and polite and there are no shortages. Even though it hasn’t been normal shopping conditions, it is still good to get out. I have found myself socially distancing when driving and stopping at traffic lights, as if someone else’s car can contaminate me! Brain is now wired to do this sort of thing. Am not happy at the thought of going up to London on the train or getting the Tube… but am longing to go.
    The economy will not be able to withstand too much of this.
    Chapeau to Dog!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ruth says:

    I’ve never been the most sociable of people at the best of times, so I am concerned that however much I want this lockdown to be safely over so I can go places again if I choose to, I’m really going to struggle to begin with in getting back to sticking my head above the parapet of life once more. Part of me rails against having been stuck at home for so long, but part of me has quietly got used to the simple solitude of isolation, and with all the wariness and worry out there I’m not sure I’ll be in any rush to return to the old ways of being…

    Liked by 3 people

    • TanGental says:

      I like lockdown, Ruth… is that a dreadful thing? It’s worked for me. I just don’t think it’s good for the world… but like you I’d rather stay in my relative isolation.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ruth says:

        I think perhaps being at different life-stages brings different perspectives on lockdown – younger people seem to find it so much more intrusive, whereas older people (like us) maybe feel OK with spending more time at home? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. V.M.Sang says:

    Personally, I don’t think it will be so difficult. There are so many people who are already flouting the rules. Take the thousands who flocked to the seaside and other places as soon as we were told we could go a bit further for our exercise. (Exercising by lying in the sun on the beach?)
    In my town in East Sussex, which is an area of relatively low Covid, people started off being very good–crossing the road when meeting someone while walking staying at home,etc. Now, few people bother with crossing the road and just walk past as normal. (less than 1 metre) People started going out before we were eased, and my neighbours have been having their mothers visit (and going in the house) on a regular basis.
    No, I don’t think it’ll be a problem for most people.
    What I don’t understand, and it annoys and worries me, is the knock-on effect on people’s health who have problems other than Covid. In an NHS Trust where a friend of mine lives, they kept one hospital ‘Covid-free’. She has recently had a cataract operation there, and is due to have an operation on her neck to release a trapped nerve that has caused her to lose movement in her left arm.
    Here, there are 3 hospitals in our local Trust. All have been dealing with Covid patients and everything else is on hold. My husband, a kidney patient with high blood pressure problems needs to get his medication sorted out, but can’t get an appointment with either the Kidney Unit, or our local GP. People with cancer have had their treatment stopped. Heart patients can’t go and have their treatment, and I’m due for a cataract op that has been cancelled, and haven’t had a check on my glaucoma for nearly a year. I was due in February. I foresee a great rise in deaths from other things shortly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      On the health consequences I’m completely with you. My MIL Is in a similar situation and my neighbour, a GP is worried about people who won’t turn up for necessary appointments they need to go to… that is another time bomb beginning to explode in the excess death numbers.
      I must say my local experiences are better than yours. Yes, roads and parks are fuller but still with a good degree of space given outside of the groups, even if those groups aren’t distanced. To me that’s common sense. Ditto your neighbours. Yes, in some cases the virus might transmit but increasingly it appears that that isn’t happening in a way to crater the NHS which was the purpose of lockdown. It could never be about saving lives and now the NHS is apparently in decent shape if numbers went up, I think we need to allow more of that social interaction, indeed encourage it. I’m just not very good at doing that myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lockdown in Wales is currently very different from what it’s like in England, Geoff. However, we too face the same questions as you ask.

    Shops – Other than supermarkets, chemists and garden centres, all shops in Wales remain closed, and there’s no set date (as yet) as to when they will open. When they do open, will there be long queues? Maybe for a few days, but I think many have discovered online shopping for the first time since lockdown and will continue to shop that way until we’re told that Covid-19 is no longer a threat. The high street has been in danger for many years. Unfortunately, Covid-19 could be beginning of the end for our high streets.

    Schools – I’ve no idea what will happen. The Welsh government have plans to reopen schools in Wales from June 29th and have extended the summer term by one week. There were plans to join Scotland and Northern Ireland and open them in August, but unfortunately, our friends in the teachers’ union were having none of that! After all, ‘teachers may already have plans for August’ were one of the reasons stated. Plans? To travel? When at the moment we’re advised not to travel anywhere? Given that here in Wales we’re currently not supposed to travel more than 5 miles from our home, I wonder how that will work if the same rules are still in place or are reinstated in August?

    Fortunately, we’ve been able to get online shopping slots since lockdown. Other than taking Toby and Austin out for walks (and a trip to the local hospital for some treatment John needed) we’ve not been anywhere. However, since the ‘Mr Cummings’ incident, we’ve seen lots more people out and about. Two weeks ago, the beach near us was crowed, with many not taking social distance measures. The littler that was left was unbelievable. It seems that some have already decided that Covid-19 is a thing of the past.

    We won’t be joining any gatherings, going to any pubs or restaurants, or shops until we’re confident that it’s safe to do so.

    In the meantime, keep staying safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      You too. I’m with you on the high street. I think it will look very different after this, and yes online is now ingrained across most generations. Mind you, I can’t imagine buying shoes without trying them on and sending them back and forth would do my head in… so here’s to shoe shops surviving!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Once I find a pair of shoes I like, I usually stick to the same make and style. I’ve purchased shoes online and not had to send anything back yet. However, there may come a day when I’m tempted to try something else.
        The high street used to be a considerable part of society. Sadly, as life has got busier, it seems to have lost its crown. I can’t imagine what shopping will be like in 20 years. Probably, instant delivery and a fridge and cupboards that restock themselves when we don’t replace something within a specific timeframe.

        Like

      • Widdershins says:

        The technology is available right now to digitally scan your foot, search files of shoe types/styles, and print out a 3D shoe of your choosing … not is shops yet, but I think it’s not as far into the future as is supposed. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Sounds unutterably ghastly but that’s because I’d probably end up with something that looked like a 100 year old arse on my feet

        Liked by 1 person

      • Widdershins says:

        Bwhahahaha … which just goes to prove the old adage, ‘if they’re looking at your shoes, you’re doing something wrong’. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Ah so true…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. noelleg44 says:

    What a sweet face on your dog! I’ll bet he is very loving.
    We are also trying to maintain our distances here, just because of our ages. However, our house is going on the market mid-July so we have tradesmen (suitably masked) in and out almost every day because of the 67 page list of to-do fixes that our inspector came up with. We can’t delay this because sales are better in the summer. Hopefully we will not have to move before our new digs are ready.
    We have been having friends over for socially distanced coffee outside – no masks – but always wear the masks and gloves when we shop. I can’t see a restaurant in our future any time soon, and all of our planned trips have been cancelled. I have still gone to my MD appointments but a dentist is not in the future.
    There are so many things we – and the so-called experts – don’t know about this virus that the best we can do is wait and see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Oh for some easy answers… I agree there are so many unknowns that those who are in charge are inevitably pretty clueless hence my need to take more personal responsibility to do what my head rather than my gut tells me is right, since my gut is on the side of staying in and hunkering down..

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am wary of going anywhere where there are crowds, not that it’s a new problem as I’ve been like that for years. I am more anxious of strangers in town because simply we don’t know where they’ve been, who they’ve been with, or where they’re from. Our beach and park were crowded, no masks, no social distancing, and our supermarket practically stripped by visitors in their campers and caravans.
    I hate shopping, but always did for clothes and shoes. However, food and other stuff it was good to browse. Not now, in and out asap. I give everyone space, but not everyone gives me space, and that annoys me. We mask and glove up when we shop or walk down the High Street. Small businesses are likely to fold and our town will suffer greatly.
    Getting to see a GP was always difficult here. Now it’s practically impossible, with so many routine checks being cancelled (diabetes, dental, general health) and I am anxious about my first mammogram after surgery which is due in September. I agree with V M Sang that there will be a rise in deaths from other things before long. It’s a waiting game and we all have to do the best we can for ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Oh I understand, really. My neighbour is a GP. He’s really worried about the number of patients who they regularly saw to keep their health stable who’ve just disappeared, scared to even try. And by the same token, they’ve also struggled, especially at the start with staffing. So for everyone desperate to get seen, there are others whose long term health will probably be impacted adversely. Oh goodness…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ritu says:

    It is a conundrum, indeed, His Geoffleship.
    I’ve been out and about more than most, as a teacher, going in for Keyworker Children duty, getting the shopping in, and for walks.
    The rest of the time, I wish, were duvet days, but I have been, along with my team, setting work fo home learning, trying to find ways for children of a very young age, to participate in learning with their parents, finding ways for parents to effectively teach their children – a skill they aren’t all equipped with.
    I worry a lot about the education of many children. The number of kids whose families we haven’t even had contact from. Are they okay, first and foremost? Are they accessing the learning?
    Personally, I think, if they are not sure about anything, then the government should be prepared for the whole cohort, across the board, to go into the same year group in September, as they are, right now, so they can catch up on a lot of stuff they will have missed, rediscover the confidence for going out into the real world, and generally have a better chance for the future.
    I go back in with my reduced class on Monday. Am I confident? No. But I am also concerned about my class. My children. I’ll only have 10 of them, as opposed to 30, because only a third of parents are feeling confident to send their children in.
    My own two are at home, learning. We are lucky that Hubby is able to work from home. But I still don’t feel entirely ready to let them back…
    It’s all crazy…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mick Canning says:

    I think it safe to say there will be many people happy to go back to life as normal, but also many who will resist it as much as possible. Some things will have to change because of that – probably many pubs and restaurants will go out of business, I don’t think we will see anything like the demand for flights we were used to leading perhaps to some airlines going out of business, and, no doubt, a number of other casualties. And they will go under, because governments will have run out of money to prop them up. We will have to find a new normal, restructuring some of the economy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I agree. If we look back in five years we will see much looking as it did, a few fundamental changes and a poorer country, less able to do all it wants to. If that stops us getting involved in other countries affairs, and embrace a greener way, then I for one will probably take that. If only…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. SC Skillman says:

    Geoff, it is so difficult to predict how people will behave when this is all over. I have read so many different opinions; some believe lockdown should end immediately, and the virus will burn itself out, and we are already much safer than we realise, when we are out and about. I think I’ve been reading too many Telegraph journalists! They seem to take the view that the potential collapse of our economy is much more to be dreaded than the future effects of the virus. As to how people will behave, part of me suspects people will just hurtle back into their former activities, and another part of me thinks many will be fearful and hesitant about re-engaging with all that they did before. Will behaviour change permanently, or will we all slip back into our former habits, once the virus is no longer a threat? The actions of the people who flocked to the beach at Durdle Door, and those who have been out demonstrating, disregarding the rules of social distancing, does tend to lead me in the direction of the latter view. History does teach us that human beings have very short memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      The longer this goes on, the more I’m coming to a more Telegraphiste view on things. Getting back won’t be smooth and there will be tragedies, but the levels of ingrained nervousness worry me that for every full beach and packed demonstation there are thousands of people hiding away. If I’ve learnt one thing about the media is the cliche ‘if it bleeds, it leads’ they will catastrophise everything. So we see images of a full beach because it’s exceptional, not the norm. Ditto the demos. Streets are still quiet in central London, in all my local parks, there are more people but they’re keeping apart or in smaller groups. People still queue outside all shops and dodge on pavements. I don’t advocate a swift transition, just a toughening up of our group mindset to begin to move out lockdown. Oh if only it were simple, eh?!

      Like

  10. I’ve been wondering about this also, Geoff, as there are psychological risks for many locked up alone or with abusers too long. I’ve been out walking and supermarket shopping – which I’ve always hated anyway, the shopping that is – without a mask but keeping a distance. I’ve actually had some pleasant chats with people I’ve met in the fields.

    But I doubt I’ll be back to normal this year, partly because I don’t trust this government and partly because the things I miss most – singing in a choir, book fairs – are unlikely to be allowed, given that they depend on large gatherings without having much economic impact. The only thing I think worth the risk of spreading the virus is to protest against racism, although I haven’t yet joined in.

    Because we all weigh the risks differently, I wrote a post proposing an individualised model for lockdown easing. Of course it’s never going to happen, even though it might be safer than this government’s announce-first-plan-later approach:

    Lockdown dis-easing and risk assessment, personal and political https://annegoodwin.weebly.com/1/post/2020/06/lockdown-dis-easing-and-risk-assessment-personal-and-political.html

    Like

    • TanGental says:

      Have you listened to Jonathan Sumption on Nick Robinson’s podcast, on the subject of lockdown. A bit like your approach. And the idea of ‘announce-first-plan-later’… any examples of the planning bit?!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. JT Twissel says:

    It is a bit like getting back on a horse after having been thrown. So far our routine hasn’t changed much from pre-quarantine. The lines (or queues) at the grocery are getting less long and the atmosphere a bit less tense than it was at first. We have many states that really didn’t quarantine and they’re just starting to see spikes. I hope the UK quarantines any travelers from the US – particularly if they’re coming from one of those states.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bear says:

    Well if we’re relying on the common sense, CV19 will never go away. We have already seen plenty of evidence there is no such thing for most, both recently and at the beginning of this.
    Two weeks AFTER lockdown was announced, no non-essential travel announced, the sun came out and the A30 to Cornwall was full of motorhomes, caravans and second homers ‘escaping’ from the south east. Recently people queued for 4 hours to get into an Ikea store for plastic and chipboard furniture when it normally takes 4 hours to get round the store once inside it even if you only went for some meatballs, but they could have stayed at home and ordered it. Queues of traffic formed up to go to a McDonalds drive through!? Nope, common sense is a myth.
    Thankfully, isolation exposes me to none of these things normally, so lockdown isolation is not very different to normal life. We just get the shopping delivered instead of driving to a supermarket but I dare not go the nearby beach as it’s currently full of people from all over the country displaying their common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Well Bear we will probably have to agree to disagree. I suppose we can only go by our own experiences. I’m reluctant to go by anecdote as I’ve found there is a tendency to exaggerate in the press and news. I know there is stupidity out there of course but I’ll give one example of misleading the public. I live near Brockwell park in south London. It was closed on day 2 or so of lockdown because, we were told, of the number of people who were using the park and breaking the rules. I was there taking exercise that day. Yes a few people sat on the grass which they shouldn’t have but the vast majority didn’t. Of course i wasnt, any more than you were on the A30 watching the traffic, there the whole time. But when the press said the park was rammed, i had to wonder. When actual figures came out there was about half the number from the same day a year ago. So my own experience suggests a large majority complying and now trying to work out what to do. Using their best guesses, frankly. As my piece tried to say, there’s no easy or completely right or wrong answer. I fully support you in your approach but in all honesty, if we were to continue your way for very much longer, we are buggered. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

      • Bear says:

        Honestly Geoff, that particular weekend was quite memorable for a number of reasons in my mind, I live in a touristy area and am in that trade, so I’m not just being anecdotal about the A30 horde that weekend. But, moving on from that, I’m not confident in relaxing yet (not shielded but vulnerable) so pretty happy to only venture to the clifftops occasionally rather than the beach yet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Absolutely understood, and my reference to anecdotal was somewhere between poor and rude… so apologies. I’m exactly the same in that I really don’t want to relax, it’s just I can see how easy it will be to continue that way, for longer than is both healthy for me and generally. And the more of us that take that view, the bigger the dangers, I fear. The NHS it seems is not in, or likely to fall into crisis, even if there’s another surge. That’s what got us into lockdown. So, at least in my simple mind, that being so we should be more prepared to move back towards normal than not. That’s easy to write, and bloody hard to do. It’s so very personal, Bear and I’m not close to being brave.

        Like

  13. Nah. I’ve shut down for the duration. I weigh the competence of government with the risk and no thanks. Super post, Geoff.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. tidalscribe says:

    I found myself becoming a carer just before lock down and then a shielder. Popping to the shops, jumping on the bus replaced by isolation and buying everything on line – I do admit to feeling relief at avoiding all that queueing. How this is all going to end I can’t imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I know. And those shielding and supporting have every reason to take the smallest steps. But others, healthy, probably younger need to do it and I need to let them and not be too critical if they push the boundaries.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Rachel M says:

    We’re not sending the kids back to school when they reopen here which is August for Scotland. When I saw the schools weren’t doing any online classes at the start of the lockdown we withdrew them from their regular schools and enrolled them in an online one. It has been terrific. I can’t see how the state schools will manage with half class sizes so I’m sure school will be resumed part time hence our decision to stick with online. State schools should have moved to an online model then they could reopen full time for young children up to year three while doing online for older kids. Instead they’ve done nothing other than provide handouts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      I’m glad not to have school age kids, so I’ve avoided that dilemma. I suppose there will be many families where online won’t work because of the financial consequences but if a higher proportion can go that route, at least for a period , it might provide part of the answer. Good luck with becoming the new Miss Trunchbull!

      Like

  16. Mary Smith says:

    I have no idea how things will be, Geoff but I admit I do worry about the lockdown measures in England being lifted too soon. I was pretty fed up to see lots of visitors from south of the border on the first weekend we, In Scotland, were able to travel five miles from home. It seems a lot of people think Scotland is actually a part of England so when the lockdown there was eased they assumed it was the same here. It still feels a bit surreal and I do wonder how we’ll get back to ‘normal’ and if it will be any different from before.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      I’m deeply depressed about the government’s response especially Over the last month. It’s become more and more ad hoc. However, my sense – one man’s view I know – is we took to lockdown with a will, more willingly than I anticipated which was great at the start but the corollary is I fear we will be less willing to go in the other direction and compound some of the damage that is happening. My instinct is to take the babiest of steps but a large part of me tells me that is wrong. You’re annoyance at English visitors is both understandable and a common one, even in the comments here. However, there are a large number who think we need to be doing just that. In an unexpected way, the recent mass protests for #blm will be something of a test as to which approach is right. If things go sour in the cities where these protests occurred, the cautious will be vindicated; if they don’t then those seeking a quicker release will call it. Neither will be proved right but it will be an indication.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mary Smith says:

        And if there is a second wave, Boris and Cummings will blame the people for not being careful. I do worry about how long it will take us to be comfortable being near people. I also worry that it might not be so easy to claw back the civil liberties we so willingly gave up to stop the spread of Covid-19.

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        The civil liberties point is very pertinent as is the swift infantilising of people. When the government began its muddled attempts at moving out of lockdown, one of the complaints with justification was of unclear messaging after ‘stay home’. We need clear guidance and it took an age. But underneath it I heard people quailling at the notion they’d have to decide for themselves how to interpret coming out of lockdown. As a people we normally grumble along, making our own way through life’s conundrums and that’s what I think we need to do now. Not sit back and wait for a cloudless Sky. But like many I’m finding that both troubling and difficult.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. I don’t know what life is going to be like at the end of this, whatever or whenever that is. There are the extremes of people who have already abandoned any caution and gleefully gone back to normal, and those who want to be super-cautious. I’d be somewhere in the middle BUT I can’t afford to take risks in order to protect my 93 year old mother. So I’ll be hanging back a little, but I recognise that I am very privileged to be able to do that and not everyone has my advantages.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Here, we’re just tentatively reopening our community library as a click and collect service. Normality feels a bit of a way away just yet 🌿

    Liked by 1 person

  19. arlingwoman says:

    Your thought processes certainly mirror mine. Unlike you, though, I’ve been doing my own shopping all along (found a store that wasn’t crowded, that enforced mask wearing and where people were respectful) and have NO thoughts about going to a restaurant, sporting event or concert until this is over or there’s a vaccine. I chafe at the idea of not traveling, but my day to day life is such that the biggest change is not meeting friends for walks, having people to dinner, drinks, etc. I haven’t had to deal with lines, and if I did, it’s unlikely I’d shop any more than necessary. We had news today of three expedited vaccines being tested over the summer. With the rush to complete them, my concerns are both safety and efficacy. We’ll see. It’s a mess, isn’t it? Nice to see Dog, who always looks relatively content–and why not?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Suzanne says:

    Dog doing it in style. Love it. Some say we [NZ] will be going into another big recession due to the virus; others say we are cheerfully not so badly off. The sharemarket is heading up, why would you put your money in the bank! Businesses are folding; large companies are laying off people.

    Lockdown for us meant the birdsong was louder. I could go bike riding and swing my legs to the side without a car banging into me, bliss. Just like the good old days way back in the seventies. That is precisely how lockdown felt downunder.

    Then today the sun rose to a sunny morning, and all seemed “normal” until I came down from the Mount. We try to be sensible and not to kiss too many strangers and to be positive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I imagine everywhere will be scarred as well as scared though you guys sound likely to come out of this in a better place than us or a lot of other European nations. It’ll probably accelerate the already shifting world order towards Asia and Australasia. I’ve enjoyed large chunks of the last few weeks but there’s a bitter taste to come

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  21. My biggest concern, Geoff, is the NHS, and healthcare generally – including private treatments with physios, osteos and the like. The NHS might not, on the face of it, have been swamped by Covid-19, but the surge we can expect isn’t from a new spike, it’s from all the people who’ve been held off or holding off from going for treatments. From close personal experience, I know of people who are waiting for procedures to be carried out and the delay is because the medical staff aren’t yet allowed to do their job. The impact on the economy will be so much greater if the NHS is forced by another spike to hold off even longer, because a lot of the routine stuff they could be handling will become more serious in the long term. The conundrum is clearly going to be how to fund all this if we don’t get the economy going, and I don’t envy anyone having to make those decisions. But I’d have preferred to see the NHS functioning properly before we relaxed the lockdown.

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  22. Sound, questioning, musing Geoff. Much as I would like to take the Culinary Queen out for a meal, that will be some trepidation. With my hair rapidly reaching 1970s length will I be queuing at the barber’s door on Independence Day? Will I ever join a heaving crowd again? – actually that one’s easy – I had already stopped doing that.

    Like

  23. Pam Lazos says:

    I’m feeling the same, Geoff. I don’t like lockdown, but not sure what the choice is now without a vaccine and an immuno-compromised husband, so just gonna stay the course. Haven’t started to dress up the dog in funny hats, yet. Might give that a try. ;0)

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