So, a question: are we at the stage when a person with a serious pre-existing medical condition should feel confident about heading into the great outdoors?

I need advice because I’m really not sure…

From the beginning of this crisis, I’ve tended to be overcautious. I didn’t trust the government’s reading of the science back in March (and I was proved right) and I trust it even less now (justification pending). Yet that’s not the only reason for my caution as much as it’s other people.

I live in a very working-class town where people are not exactly driven by science. I’d call many of them “idiots” but, apparently, that’s not allowed because… Well, I’m not sure why… Many are idiots. I know enough of them to know they’ve ignored all government warnings. Many don’t “do” social distancing. Some think the whole thing is a media hoax. A few I know were first back to the local pub the moment it opened, where they proceeded to ignore all the rules laid down for reopening. I know somebody who went to the local Tesco the other day and they were the only person wearing a mask…

So, on one hand, I see the figures about local transmission rates and think they look low. [Edit: scrub that. According to the Liverpool Echo yesterday: “The latest figures from the King’s team suggest that on Merseyside, St Helens has the highest estimated number of active Covid-19 cases per million people with 1,174.” I live in St Helens.]

Yet, on the other hand, I seriously doubt that people around have taken the virus all that seriously. Many wouldn’t get tested if they got ill. I know that for a fact. I was told the other day about a person who went into a local school with a cough and raging fever and didn’t bother to get tested.

Yes, I think, but the numbers…

Yes, I counter think, but the testing…

It’s also the North West and, frankly, we’re second-class citizens at the best of times. There could be a ranging epidemic around here and we’d be expected to open so long as London is clear.

What am I to think?

Johnson says it’s time to get back to normal. Vallance and Whitty are sending different messages.

The fact that I’m confused – and I really do follow the science – gives me more reason to worry. It’s hard to see facts given all the gaslighting that’s going on. The UK looks like it’s mirroring the US where the messaging is being driven by politicians rather than medical professionals.

None of this would matter except Boris Johnson is now telling everybody to get back to normal. FFS. He even thinks sports stadiums will be able to open in October and we’ll all enjoy a normal Christmas. I know his job is to talk up the economy but…

Anyway. The reason I ask is that this “return to normal” means my sister is now being asked to nip into the doctor’s surgery for the usual blood tests. It’s a pain in the arse since she’s been isolating since before even I started to isolate on her behalf. She has an inflammatory disease which, on a good day, gives her half the symptoms developed by people displaying the inflammatory conditions after catching the virus. If anybody should isolate it’s her…

But, no. Some receptionist rings up and demands that she attends and doesn’t accept the excuse that she’s self-isolating.

I’m stuck now not knowing what to advise. Am I paranoid? Maybe I’m suffering from lockdownitus. Have I adjusted to the routine too much? Or am I right to be cynical about a government that has been wrong from the beginning and locals who have been negligent throughout?

If there’s anybody out there, I’d welcome your advice…

4 thoughts on “A Predictable Dilemma”

  1. Afternoon. As another one of those people. I too am being very cautious. I’ve only been out for 2 drives and takeaway McDonald’s and KFC. I’ve started bending the rules (I think. But I’ve lost track!) by having 2 visitors inside in the last week. I wouldn’t be going to the Drs if I could possibly avoid it. So personally I’d kick up a stink if I were her. It all of course depends how she feels about it?

    1. The more I read and hear from experts, the more certain I am that keeping to the rules is sensible. Yes, I think she’ll kick up a stink but within limits. It’s never straightforward with our doctors, who always provide a very begrudging service.

  2. She could be a “nuisance” and ask them to specify exactly what they’re doing to enforce social distancing, etc. Then, if she can see from outside that it isn’t happening, she’s got grounds to make a formal complaint. Or sometimes it’s worth ringing again and hopefully getting a different receptionist. Our doctor’s is a bit hit and miss – some are great, some are awful. Is there any scope for switching to a different practice? Good luck anyway.

    Re the masks thing, we’ve got something similar around here – do you think it might be that people have the mindset sometimes that everything happens “somewhere else” because most of the news deals with “somewhere else” so it couldn’t possibly happen to them?

    1. Ditto on the GPs with a slightly difference emphasis: some good but most very bad.

      Good point about “somewhere else” and I think that might be true around here. I think it also comes down to good and bad messaging. Papers like the Mail need to take a long hard look at themselves and the messages they’be been pushing. I also think the government ads around the coronavirus have been a level beneath those they made for Brexit. I don’t think they really got the message out there and seem muddled: trapped between taking the science seriously and taking the economic/political arguments seriously. I think lockdown was the former but since lockdown ended they’ve gone heavily for the latter.

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