Lockdown reaches its 100th day, at least ours does. We started 4 days earlier than government instructions required. After a bizarre and surreal visit to the theatre to see a Wicker Husband, all the time trying not to touch anything or be breathed on and without participating in our usual group dinner or drinks, we hurried off home and headed straight for the bunkers. Since then we have occasionally raised our heads above the battlements but have avoided most risks. Our nearest skirmish with the enemy was a sick son who thankfully tested negative and recovered in two days. We have a friend who caught covid 19 from her son very early in the lockdown and who was extremely poorly but survived. My wife has a second cousin who is known to have had it but other than her neither my wife or myself knows of anyone else either close or distant locally or in fact anywhere else in the world even amongst friends of friends who have had the thing and between us we know, or know of, a very large number of people indeed. I would say that at least a thousand would not be an overestimate. Of course I routinely ask myself, especially since the number of cases locally is low compared to almost anywhere else nationally, why are we being so strict with ourselves?
There are a number of reasons and obviously a fear of the virus is one of the most important amongst them. A large majority of deaths, and these are tragically always after extreme illness, are in the age range 70 and above. Another factor is that apart from missing family hugs and get togethers we really don’t mind it much. We are lucky to have the support we need to stay safe, fortunate to be retired and not dependent on work and even more fortunate not to have fallen out. Not everyone is so lucky, but for us nothing has really been too onerous.
One consideration is that our government cannot be trusted and has spectacularly failed the nation in their management of the pandemic and in their refusal to act upon scientific advice from the start meaning that every action was delayed. It is estimated that 40000 lives have so far been lost needlessly. A direct result of this mismanagement is that no-one in the country really knows enough to make sound judgements about the risk and speaking for ourselves we have naturally erred on the side of safety.
By far the biggest reason however is that we will always obey the rules. It seems to me that the public fall into basically two camps. Those who responsibly endeavour to understand the virus and the danger it presents, who think about the issues, follow the reports, work out what matters and take the interests of society at large to heart and those who do very little of any of those things, concentrate purely on their own interests and who take the lazy way out. The former camp is fighting the virus, obeys the rules and accepts their strictures. The latter camp is fighting the rules.
At the risk of being controversial it seems to me that this divide is the great challenge in Britain today and although there are many exceptions I am going to hazard a guess that an opinion poll amongst the crowds on Bournemouth beach in the week would reveal a majority that also voted for Brexit and who do not agree with the removal of certain Victorian statues.