When the UK announced a nationwide lockdown in March, we did not anticipate that we would still be seeing its effects almost six months later. But here we are.
Month by month, we watched those ghastly statistics as thousands contracted and died from a worldwide virus. And it’s still killing people. Even if we are only seeing single digit fatalities a day, rather than over a thousand, there are still deaths.
We cannot overlook that fact.
And we need to remember something important: The pandemic is not over. People worldwide are still being infected, are still dying, and are still seeing changes to their everyday life.
After self-isolating for nearly six months and leaving the house properly for the first time this week, not even for long, I found myself flinching away from every non-covered face, each person who stood far too close.
Not wearing masks is putting people at risk. If hoards of scientific evidence and studies prove that wearing face coverings can significantly reduce transmissions, and people want to get back to normal, and they agree that keeping children out of schools is not the best course of action … then why argue with the professionals?
You don’t need to be told to do things that you do in a day that you now see as normal; wearing a mask can be seen as normal and not as scary or alien as we might expect. In many countries, it has been ettiquette to wear facial masks for years and is thought to protect wearers against pollution in cities.
The “Fresher’s Flu” always happens when vast groups of peoples get together in a small space (i.e a classroom) and you know how rapidly that spreads. Worldwide repoenings of education centers, from the US to South Korea have seen equally dangerous second outbreaks of COVID-19 … which we could see here if there isn’t more to be done.
And not every student going back to school or university is going to feel secure about it. Not everyone is going to be prepared.
Some might have conditions which mean they cannot wear masks or shields, which is perfectly fine. It’s like those who have the use single-use straws: for their benefit due to limitations.
They should not be spat at in the streets or scorned if they cannot help it.
But those who are putting people in danger by believing Coronavirus is a hoax?
Schools and centres for education are the perfect hotspots for outbreaks to emerge and create a second wave. And we’re already seeing this since schools went back this week. Some are already reverting back to online lessons and distanced education. And “youngsters” are getting the slack for it. Degraded and scape-goated by the government.
I’ve seen far more students and children taking this seriously than adults. Far more adults are having tantrums when asked (rather nicely I might add) to wear a mask in shops, or for being asked to follow basic instructions for the safety of others.
It’s in times like these we get to see both the best and worst of humans, so let’s be considerate to one another and show more of that good side.
Wearing masks protects others; it’s not to be cruel or restricting.
Where is the spirit from the earliest days of lockdown where we all offered help to neighbours and complete strangers across the country?
We cannot go back to the normal there was once before, and masks are likely to be part of this “new” normal we’re creating.
I, for one, will continue to wear masks when university lectures begin again, will still socially distance in public and stay inside if I get ill. For the safety of other people. Frankly it’s mind-boggling that it’s not common practise in the first place.
Change happens all the time. At one time, reusing bags at the supermarket was brand new. Why should one piece of fabric cause such debate when it exists to protect us?
Photo courtesy of Volodymyr Hryshc