COVID-19: Part 2 – Lockdown Becomes the New ‘Norm’

4 April 2020

Life is starting to take on a new kind of normality. In fact, it almost seems that this is a movie taking place that we’re not part of, and I’m worried that we’re feeling a false sense of security. Everywhere is so quiet and calm; very few shops are open and those that are have queues of people waiting to go in, keeping apart at a safe distance. I eventually managed to get a ‘click & collect’ booking for 20 April by staying up till midnight to wait for a new day’s slot to become available! I was ecstatic to be in a queue and then finally be able to check out my shopping at 1.30am!

In today’s briefing from the government, it is predicted that the death rate will continue to be high for another week or two, and that the virus is unlikely to be eradicated completely, so it is too soon to be considering relaxing the lockdown. Yet life seems to be carrying on whilst the world is in a health crisis. It’s hard not to pine for the things that we would normally be doing and planning – an Easter break in Norfolk, planning a summer holiday or even popping out for a curry! And it’s hard to envisage when we will be able to do any of those things any time soon, but of course that time will come, and we will undoubtedly appreciate it all the more.

6 April 2020

Very worrying news that the Prime Minister has been moved into intensive care tonight, unable to shake off the symptoms of the virus. Last night, the Queen addressed the nation with a message of hope and resilience, but also reinforcing the need to stay at home to protect the NHS, limit the number of admissions and keep people alive – it’s as simple as that. When people we know lose a loved one it becomes a reality; we now know of two.

Easter Sunday 12 April 2020

Who would ever have imagined in their lifetime spending Easter Day in lockdown, unable to be with loved ones or out and about in the countryside? The weather has been so glorious this past week, it’s as if Mother Nature knows and is giving us the benefit of some fabulous warm sunshine to lift our spirits. Good Friday was also my birthday; it was hard to imagine what a lockdown birthday would be like, but it was a lovely, relaxing, family-centred day. In the evening The Coach & Horses delivered fish and chips to our door, it’s been wonderful to show support to our local businesses; communities are really stepping up in this unprecedented time of uncertainty. Living this way, we may be paying a bit more, and we aren’t necessarily getting it instantly, but we all seem so much happier for it. I do sincerely hope that we don’t all go back to how we were before and forget everything we’ve done to keep our communities going.

Sadly, Good Friday also saw the highest death rate in the UK so far, with 980 people tragically losing their lives to this dreadful virus, followed by 917 yesterday and a further 737 today. Even more worrying is that one of the government’s senior scientific advisors has today suggested that the UK is likely to be among the worst affected European countries. Thankfully, the Prime Minister has today been released from hospital after spending 3 days in intensive care. Whatever your politics are, seeing your country’s Prime Minister so seriously ill is extremely scary.

There has been no update on the lockdown situation: three weeks are up tomorrow. It seems unimaginable that by the summer we will all still be in lockdown, and by the autumn what will happen to the schools, universities and all the economies around the world? I wonder if we’ll ever go back to not worrying about spreading germs – will we be reluctant to shake hands, or to hug and embrace friends in the future? The scientists think that the likelihood of a vaccine being available could be 18 months away, which seems like an eternity, but even that would be miraculous and would probably mean fast tracking which is not without risks. Bill Gates today describes a vaccine as “the most urgent tool that has ever been needed.”

Very wisely, the government refuses to discuss a possible relaxation of the lockdown, there’s no way we can begin to think about it however hard that is. In any case, whenever it happens, it’s likely to be very gradual and take a long time, maybe be another six months or more. But if that’s what it takes, then we must all accept it.