So here we are, life after lockdowns. It seems so weird that on New Year’s Eve 2019, I watched some news coming out of China via an Asian news channel that was talking about a mysterious respiratory virus that was causing some concern there. I said to the husband, and he remembers it very clearly “I don’t like this, I think it might be a problem”. You see we had been in Singapore when they had a SARS outbreak. In fact, we strongly suspect he had it (that story is for another day) and I had a feeling that this virus was going to be a lot worse than that. I can’t explain why. I know my friends, family and colleagues all thought I was nuts when I started stocking up on facemasks and hand gel around about two years ago. I think we all thought it would be nothing, and wouldn’t impact us.
But this time two years ago, it was looming and we are almost at the anniversary of our country, and many others going into the start of lockdowns. Something I had never even thought would be a thing we’d face.
I was very strongly pro shutting down. I vividly remember a friend in Singapore who got sick with SARS and was very very ill and almost died, and this new version called Covid19 seemed pretty nefarious. We had a child who had just been diagnosed with fairly severe asthma and a GP who was concerned about her health (she would then go on to be diagnosed with another immune condition as well) and basically, it felt right that we had to stay home, keep safe and not spread the virus, if we could help it.
We all know the story. A long lockdown, a reprieve, a new variant, more cases, lockdowns and restrictions, another variant, lockdowns, then hurrah… the vaccine and whilst we then faced another variant, because that is what this virus does, it seems that it’s less nefarious, and the vaccines have helped. We dutifully and willingly got our vaccines, we prayed for the vaccine for our daughter, she got hers.
We got Covid. Ironically, a month after her first vaccine, she caught it, we all caught it. We recovered, although I struggled with some lingering issues for a month or two and our son now has post viral syndrome and also has asthma. We don’t know if it is because of Covid or genetics. We never will.
It’s been a very strange two years. The first lockdown was hard, but something of a novelty and we had a bit of a war spirit, keep calm, carry on, save the NHS thing going. The second lockdown in November, and the third one in January, was brutally damaging to all our mental health. I don’t think we were alone in that.
And now we live in a post lockdown world. Covid hasn’t gone away. The early realisation that it was here to stay have long since settled and we learn to live with it. People are still dying but we have gone back to what seems like more normal than I imagined we would, all those months ago, when I hadn’t hugged anyone but my family for what felt like an eternity and our weekly grocery delivery was a huge excitement.
I don’t know how I feel. I absolutely do not want to face any more lockdowns. Whilst I was pro them the first time round because we didn’t know what Covid would do and it was killing hundreds and bringing our NHS to it’s knees, I don’t think mentally I could manage being stuck at home again. I am not sure many people would.
So we carry on, don’t we?
It does feel like we have have to live with this virus. We can’t lock down, lock people away, live with life on hold and business shut for ever. But it also feels like we have just abandoned all measures which as an ex nurse seem very naive and rushed to me. Is mask wearing for a few months more really that onerous? Are we protecting people in care homes enough? It feels like we have gone from one extreme to another. It’s hard to know what to do best? What happens if another variant comes along? I have decided that for now, we just get on with life, and worry if we need to. I guess we will know when we need to.
Two years ago we were pretending it wasn’t going to be a problem. A year ago we were in our third lockdown.
What a time to be alive? Where do we go from here? How are you feeling about it all?