Boris Johnson has announced it’s time we live with Covid-19. But he hasn’t told us how.
The perception our prime minister, weakened by scandals, is trying to appease to his backbenchers is not all that farfetched. Many of these backbenchers have businesses and investments impacted by Covid-19 restrictions and wish for life to return to how it was before March 2020.
And they’re not the only ones. I’m sure we all miss aspects of how our lives were before the global pandemic. We ask ourselves, if we don’t return to normal now, then when? What are we waiting for?
And then we feel guilty, because at the time of writing, around 200 people are dying within 28 days of a positive Covid-19 test. The pandemic isn’t over, and we will live with its consequences for years to come. The government expects us to live with Covid-19, while there are still people still dying from it.
You may remember the Government’s public health campaign, ‘Can you look them in the eyes?’ featuring profound, close-up shots of vulnerable people on ventilators with the intention to reveal the harrowing reality of Covid-19 to the public. It’s a shame the government’s fear mongering campaign didn’t impact them.
With Hancock’s lack of remorse for the affair that broke his own rules whilst he was Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, to Boris Johnson’s numerous parties, not one day before the Queen sat alone at her husband’s funeral. The stark reality here shows those acting as our government are simply unable to control themselves, and follow the rules to the point they need to scrap them.
If you’re uncomfortable about going out with Covid-19 still in effect, with seeing vulnerable friends and family, it’s understandable, given what we have gone through in the last two years.
Simply look at the first two months of 2022. The first wave of Omicron hit us hard between December and January. Families were back in isolation for the second Christmas running. This highly transmissible, airborne virus was spreading like wildfire.
And in February all restrictions were lifted.
We live under the anxiety where new, more highly transmissible variants lay on the horizon. We know from our lived experience how deadly this virus is, with a fresh wound in our recent past.
This is not to say it’s wrong to want your life back after living in limbo for so long. Perhaps the issue isn’t even relinquishing the legality of Covid-19 restrictions. Those who want to get back to normal should be able to. However, those who don’t are left with nothing in place to facilitate that, or to help protect them.
With many people receiving statutory sick pay if they are off work with Covid-19 find their wages lowered. This was previously topped up by a Covid-19 relief fund which is now gone, and with the ever-increasing cost of living, statutory sick pay just doesn’t cut it.
We may never know, truly, if Boris is doing what he thinks is best or whether it is to garner popularity from his backbenchers. What we do know however is that vulnerable people still remain vulnerable.