Boris Johnson announced recently that Coronavirus restrictions would be coming to an end on the 19th of July 2021. Sajid Javid followed this up by announcing that double-jabbed citizens would not be required to self-isolate after encountering a positive COVID case. Infections are already rising. People are still dying. If this insufferable ordeal has taught us anything, it is that we must use optimism and patience in equal measure. All scientific advice suggests, or even implores, that the government puts the brakes on this runaway train. If not, it will canter through despair, breeze through tragedy, and come to rest solidly outside a town called catastrophe.
I would love to write a poignant and eloquent article about the saviour that will soon ride over the horizon and save the day, but, regrettably, I live in the real world. In lieu of a mindful and patient government, I instead write about what British society should be doing to keep everyone as safe as possible.
1) Wear your mask - The world’s best tool to defend itself against a deadly virus is the face covering. A study published in The Lancet found that ‘physical distancing of 1m or more was associated with a much lower risk of infection, as was use of face masks’. Scientists and medical professionals the world over have said it time and time again – masks save lives. By wearing a face covering, you are both preventing yourself from spreading infection and providing yourself with a simple form of protection against others who carry the virus. It is simple, and the downsides are inconsequential. Masks do not impede the breathing of a healthy adult. They do not infringe on your liberties. Death will infringe on your liberties. Masks do not demonstrate a method of government control. They will save your life. So, wear a mask, maybe even two if you can!
2) Get a vaccine - The reason that we not longer worry about diseases like smallpox or polio is that we vaccinated against them. They did not just disappear, we made them go away. There is strong scientific evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of vaccination – the practice is over two-hundred years old after all. Vaccines do not carry the cells of aborted babies as some believe – the process of manufacturing vaccines does not include harvesting abortions. Vaccines do not cause autism. They do strengthen your immune system against infectious disease.
In truth, all medicines come with their associated risks, even low-grade painkillers like Paracetamol. The same associated risks come with taking a vaccine, but in the case of the COVID vaccines, any side-effects are a better alternative to contracting the virus. Having recently read about what COVID-19 does to your body, I believe even a low-skilled horror director would make quick work of the feature film “COVID-19: The Virus Strikes Manhattan”. You could be facing fluid in your lungs, heart problems, blood clotting, inflammation, dying lung tissue, kidney problems etc. It is a no-brainer.
3) Be patient - With the Euros in full swing, pubs open, and indoor events once again taking off, it is difficult not to be persuaded to head for a cheeky pint with your mates. The urge is there, but the most important thing to remember right now is that fun leads to forgetfulness. When you are out celebrating, do not forget that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. Nobody wants to stifle happiness, so make sure you are not turning yourself into a super-spreader.
It is no secret that the government has failed on several counts during the pandemic, but it should also be remembered that some successes have been achieved. We are awfully close to “returning to normality”. We have a vaccination programme that is working. If we were to come this close to beating COVID-19 just to throw it all away, it would be unbearable. I would implore anyone who reads this not to blindly follow the new unlocking because the “government knows best”. That certainly is not a given. I have come up against anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers alike who implored me to rebel against government control. I asked them politely to criticise but not jeopardise.
Now, all I can hope for is that people see this new policy of no restrictions is coming too soon. Removing all barriers to contracting COVID will only ensure that new variants emerge, and more deaths get counted. We are not prepared to fully unlock Britain, but the virus is. COVID-19 is ready and waiting to return us to the deadly situation which we faced a meagre six months ago. Please, do not let it.
Written by Isaac Knowles
Isaac Knowles is a columnist at DecipherGrey.