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  • Writer's pictureJack Martindale

Let’s all get vaccinated and go out again ASAP!

Much that we always took for granted been snatched away from us all. Obviously. I’m not writing here to pretend that my knowledge of the pandemic is in any way worthy to offer an opinion on the necessity and merits of remaining in the imbalanced and surreal state of abnormality that we have been forced into for as good as a complete year.

Of course I have to recognise my privilege. I’m also lucky that in the job that being a key worker with for a homeless charity affords me the sense of some normality. This is found physically being able to go to work and gain numerous interactions with people that can only be classified as invaluable from the perspective of mental health. Something that I find ethically appalling, is that so many of the decisions concerning the rules and regulations concerning the war against COVID-19 come from such a clear top-down perspective.

I almost see it as having encouraged a contemporary recreation of an Upstairs Downstairs sort of society. This is where the powers that be make the decisions from behind a computer screens, whilst the minions deliver their food and upkeep their domestic environments. Yes they are somehow the righteous in that their more self-contained lifestyles can easily limit the spread of the virus. I cannot regard this as holistic in any way. Curtailing the virus is of prime importance. Yet pushing other concerns to the wayside is what I see as to how this can be used as an exclusive factor to warrant the neglect of properly looking after our most vulnerable citizens.

There is then this crude myth found in certain circles of COVID-19 being a leveler. This in that the virus is all around us and everybody is susceptible. In essence this may be the case, though the reality always is that the power and control that our society allows money to buy affords the wealthy to maintain a life of comfort that is free from much risk. Using their own or leasing property’s in all far flung corners of the world is but one example. Lifestyles of the rich and the famous can hardly have been so compromised.

Almost what frustrates me even more is the hypocrisies of our do-gooders. Much of this in apparently enhanced by the lack of empathy and discussion that tour social media instantly gratifying world has allowed to prosper. Nobody will ever be able to engage in a proper discussion online in the first place when we all can so easily align ourselves as pack animals in fueling a moralistic argument that condescends the opposing side. It appears to be more of an engagement with herding people of a like mind together to validate and attempt to solidify their opinion as opposed to any sort of conversation, in my eyes.

There were always undoubtedly a wealth of things wrong with our grossly unequal and unfair society. But having the fortune of living in a democracy, they could always be challenged and held to account. Whilst I’m not undermining the need for strict and strong measures to be enforced to get us through what we are so often reminded are, these unprecedented times, we can’t be expected to just accept things without challenge. Especially when I can’t feel any more trust in our incompetent Government’s handling of this situation than whatever the opinion may be of almost anybody else that I might ask off of the street! Not the greatest testimony for the supposed controllers of our liberties.

With this crisis, the setters of our freedoms are able to curtail them to the general public at the drop of a hat as never before. Even during wars. I can’t say that I’ve always got the most patience with the civil liberties brigade with their libertarian or just middle class connotations. Though I cannot help but notice the a stark contradiction if any calling themselves endorsers and proponents of protecting people’s rights are all too quick to lecture others if they should oppose their mindset of how to best tackle COVID.

Corona Virus being such a relatively new phenomenon must mean that such a degree of how to best combat it remains unknown. Of course the most qualified scientists have varying views as to how to best end this pandemic. Prof Trisha Greenhalgh at Oxford University and backed by 22 other chief scientists for example. Advocate greater restrictions. Whereas you then have opinions such as those of Prof Gupta-Heneghan-Sikora also of the University of Oxford claiming that continued lockdowns are “leading to significant harm across all age groups, which likely offsets any benefits”. With such differing mind-sets amongst the crème de la crème of expertise, how so many people feel so confident and ordained to bolster their sacred offerings upon how to best tackle COVID is something that I fail to understand. Exerting arrogance must always be the easier short-cut option than offering any well rounded and balanced approach.

Empathy is surely a most priceless human trait. This is surely the only thing that we could definitely extract as a positive thing for each of us to try and share from this tumultuous situation. On a personal note, I have not seen my girlfriend physically for close to a year now. I may have timed my most recent visit to Manhattan well, with the benefit of knowing when this pandemonium would ensue. This is enforced separation is far from acceptable as it is indigestible that this is the case.

Things need to change. Ideally we need to eradicate COVID, though with the pace of this and over optimism that this may sound, we must need to come up with some viable way of allowing for lives to go on with it. Difficult as it may be for some, please try to put yourselves in our shoes before advising on anything or forming an opinion. As always, there will be people far worse off. This very point in itself proves how we are in desperate to end this cycle of monotony and the widespread apathy and the dystopian outlook that it so breeds.

Let’s end positively and celebrate the success of the vaccine rollout across the UK thus far. I feel incredibly fortunate (even a tad guilty given my age) due to receive my second dose of the vaccine that I received courtesy of my work on the 30th of March 2021. Echoing old Queenie, let’s just think that the vaccine is something that we all have get to protect others. I just hope that we can all jump over the hurdle that has been placed courtesy of COVID and be free to all go about unaccountably to go enjoying blundering about our lives in our own special ways!

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