As the lockdown in the United Kingdom enters its sixth week there is evidence that the public resolve to adhere to government guidance to stay at home is wavering. Footfall and traffic figures are steadily creeping up again. At a time when the number of hospital deaths from COVID-19 passed 20,000 yesterday. That’s not including the number of deaths in care homes and the wider community which are estimated at adding up to 30% to that already depressing figure.
I watched news reports from London yesterday and was shocked by the number of people out and about. One reporter was filming from a street in East London which was packed with people queuing outside coffee shops and making their way to and from a local park. Other footage showed members of the public sun bathing and openly flaunting social distancing instructions. It’s baffling and frustrating in equal measure. What is so hard about staying at home?
I understand many are struggling financially and need the lockdown to ease so they can return to work. I am fortunate that both my job and salary are secured in the present situation, it’s not so easy for others. This was a weekend scene, however, and I’m pretty certain the large majority out and about were not doing so for employment reasons. Sitting sunning yourself in a park is not work.
I also understand that not everyone has a back garden or open area where they can relax. I feel particularly sorry for those living in confined urban environments such as tower blocks. The parks should be open for such people to exercise; to walk, run, cycle. Unfortunately, picnics and lounging around drinking alcohol are not permitted. It’s tough but it’s a sacrifice that must be made for the greater good. We all need to do this in order to stop the disease from running rampant through our society.
It’s been disheartening to see a growing movement for ending the lockdown on social media; those who are openly defying it because they regard the threat of infection to themselves as negligible. This is the height of selfishness as they appear oblivious to the threat they pose to more vulnerable members in their community who they might unwittingly infect. It goes beyond ignorance and misinformation, although some show a shocking lack of knowledge on this most critical of points.
This pandemic has brought out the best and the worst in people. This post is focusing on the latter but that should not detract from the many stories out there of selflessness as opposed to selfishness. There are those who are willing to, and have, given up their lives to stop the spread of the virus. Why, then, are others incapable of staying indoors and putting their need for a haircut above the greater need. It puzzles me, angers me, frustrates me. Why?
As for me, I’m an introvert and homebody at heart. It’s not a massive challenge for me to stay indoors, to read, watch television and potter about the house. I run or walk the dog as part of my daily exercise and I’m grateful to have a garden and live in a rural area. Hand on heart, though, I think I would behave in the same way wherever I lived and whatever my circumstances. It’s not difficult for me which is why I struggle to understand the actions of others.
I want to stay in. I’m no hero, I’m not writing this to gain followers, likes, or free pizzas. I’ve been asked to do something within my capability in order to save the lives of others and I’m doing it. I’m as flawed, weak and vulnerable as anyone else. Yet, I’m doing it. So, why can’t everyone else? It’s a question I might never know the answer to, maybe I don’t want to hear their responses. For I fear they will do nothing to ease my concerns, but instead further increase my disillusionment at the actions of these selfish sun worshipers.