The One Word I'm Glad Boris Didn't Say

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Last night at 8:30 GMT, the British people tuned in to watch our Prime Minister address the nation and lay down some new rules. Some of our people had been congruating still, and there was a risk that we were spreading the virus. Indeed, I wrote a piece about my own observations only 24 hours after social distancing began in the UK which you can find here, if you’re interested.

In short, as many said, Boris has grounded the children. Like naughty children who refused to listen, we’re all more or less banned for going out for at least the next 21 days. For older, more inrtoverted people like me I should imagine that won’t be too hard. For the young and those who like to party, I can see that being quite a challenge. Even in my youth it would have bothered me, but instead of ignoring the rules. we would have all bemoaned our Prime Minister online.

Many of my friends (many of which I used to go drinking with) have all recognised this hard time. There is nothing anyone can do and so we just have to band together and find ways to overcome the obstacles. Unfortunately it seems, there are others in society to which those rules don’t apply.

But even as we were told that we could only meet one person that we don’t live with and only get one form of exercise a day (it now feels criminal to belly dance at home and walk the dog!) , I found one word missing form Boris Johnson’s speech.

That word, was “lockdown”.

This is a lockdown in context only. Credit where it was due, he played it very clever and prevented the mass panic that would have sent hoardes of panic-buyers flooding back into the stores. By avoiding the word “lockdown”, people ingested these new conditions and they accepted them, albeit begrudgingly, but it avoided mass panic.

That, to me, was very clever. I don’t normally give Boris Johnson an awful lot of credit (we can all remember his publicity stunt gone-wrong) but this time around, I believe he managed the situation well. He looked at the models that have worked in Germany and Italy, he decided what seemed too draconian and what was effective, and he made something that he believed worked for his country without taking away all of our civil liberties. For that, I can work with him.

In my own (very personal) opinion, the reaction to this pandemic has been atrocious. Lockdowns and social distancing may prevent the spread of the virus, but it has already been said several times that a vast majority of the people who contract it will recover. The death toll climbs, but it still hasn’t reached anywhere near the figures for H1N1 or even seasonal flu. The economic backlash from these lockdowns, I am sure, will be much, much worse.

To date, nearly 17,000 people have died worldwide. Indeed that’s a tragic loss of life, but let’s put things into perspective. The population of the village that I grew up in and the population of the village that I live in now, combined, outnumber the number of people who have died from Covid-19 – worldwide! There will be many more, sadly, we all know that, but people are working together, more than 100,000 people have got better and vaccines are being worked on. Let us not lose sight of the woods for all of the trees. Our medical community needs us to believe in them and support them.

Slowly but very surely, there are tiny, tiny glimmers that life is returning to normal in some parts of the world. China has began lifting restrictions and Germany and Italy are seeing some progress in “flattening the curve”. For many of us the challenge has only just begun, but if we all work together, we can beat the novel Coronavirus.

Please. if I have one thing to ask you, please listen to your government’s advice. We all want to be out there, playing in our parks, hanging out with our friends and dancing on the dancefloors once more. We’re all frustrated, we all upset and we are all frightened. Hopefully the figures won’t rise too high, but nobody knows yet where it ends. None of want to catch the Coronavirus, and certainly none of us want to end up in hospital or dead from the disease. We can all avoid it by working together and staying apart for a few weeks. Video chat with a cup of tea, or hit up an online game of 8-ball pool instead. Do your part now, and we can all be enjoying our regular life a lot sooner.

Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Beautiful,

Helen xx

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