Posted on: September 25, 2020 Posted by: James Merrington Comments: 0

Here I am once again writing about the complete shit show that is COVID-19, wondering “when will this finally be over?”, knowing full well that the answer is – no one actually knows. Since my last article quite a lot has happened, relatively speaking of course. BoJo and Priti Patel told neighbours to dob each other into the police if rules are broken. Local lockdowns intensified as the virus spread at an alarming rate. The government blamed young adults for the sudden rise in cases, pubs have to close by ten and, as of Monday, I have to wear a mask at work for the entirety of my shifts. Yes, it’s been quite a week or two, or however long it has been because it’s all starting to blur into one right now.

Given the new restrictions that have been announced this week, I thought I’d take another gander at the comment sections of everyone’s favourite socials to see what the Karens, Alans and Steves of the world have to say about the situation at hand (immediate apologies if your name is Karen, Alan or Steve).

Firstly, it seems that a lot of people are trying their hand at being a stand-up comedian as soon as anything is announced. My favourite joke at the minute being, “take it Covid is on the night shift now?”. Ha, nice one! Now comments like this are a prime example of people who like to put their two pence in without having any real conviction. It’s the equivalent of a well-timed “your Mam” joke, yet, it’s something that I hear quite often now, and it comes as no surprise. I won’t pretend that closing pubs at ten will make any difference in my eyes. It’s like the government is oblivious to the fact that the restriction will just make people go to the pub earlier and drink quicker. It’s one of those random restrictions that scream “we know we have to do something, but we really don’t have a clue as to what!”, which seems to generate outrage more than anything else. Nevertheless, the one positive from this restriction is that they’ve decided to keep pubs open instead of shutting them altogether. I almost think that it’s becoming a game of appeasement; it’s either piss everyone off by shutting the pubs down or piss off those who regularly stay out past ten in their local instead.

This next comment was refreshing and summed up exactly how I feel about this whole situation. It reads, “I want to be optimistic, but this just feels like they’re pissing in the wind” (sad emoji face for emotional emphasis). It’s a brilliant phrase, let’s be honest. As a general consensus I think that we can all agree that the government has reacted poorly throughout the whole pandemic, but who’s to say that any other government would have reacted any better? These are unprecedented times after all. The difficulty I have with the situation is that we seem to be a step behind every time. Every decision our government makes is reactionary rather than precautionary, and instead of accepting any responsibility when it’s due, they just stir the pot further by blaming someone different every week. To think they had the audacity to blame carers at one point is beyond me.

Remember when everyone stood and clapped for the NHS, mustering community spirit despite having total bellends at the helm? It seems like a while ago because that sense of community spirit has wavered a little bit. Neighbours are being urged to turn each other in like the plot of a George Orwell novel as the situation continues to feel more hopeless; especially when phrases such as ‘critical’ and ‘level 4’ are being thrown around – I never knew that we were even on a level system – when the only solution is reducing the size of weddings and a curfew. The difficulty with that sort of language is that it is click bait-y; it gets people panicked (myself included) without there being any logical action or conclusion to follow.

It is also obvious that people are calling for schools to be closed which is a really difficult one. It came as no surprise that cases began to rise as schools, colleges and universities reopened. In this situation you’ve got to think of the collateral damage that closing schools once again would have. With kids out of school, parents will have to stay home which takes them away from their jobs (which they have probably only just returned to) which, in turn, damages the economy even further. It’s a slippery slope, but when will they make this decision and when they do will it be too late? Perhaps it will be when the critical level rises to 5, or 6 … or 7?

Either way, it is almost certain that any decision made from here on out will be misguided, disputed and most likely ignored by a high amount of people. As for me, I’ll probably just keep writing highly opinionated articles in an attempt to squash my growing social angst.

By James Merrington

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