Posted on: September 10, 2020 Posted by: James Merrington Comments: 0

Unless you spent yesterday under a rock, out in a barn or up Ben Nevis then you’ll be aware that as of Monday, people can’t gather in groups of more than six (inside or outside) as part of new social distancing rules. I always find it interesting (and somewhat amusing) when new measures come into place, not because of the restrictions that my life now faces, but because of some of the ridiculous comments that are made online. There’s two types of people online that spark my interest the most; The Karen’s who have to enlighten everyone on their outrageous views via Facebook and those who have most likely never voted before, but still get a bee in their bonnet whenever BoJo’s shambolic government makes a decision.

From all walks of life come the “they have no idea what they’re doing” comments, which is true for the most part, but I think that things could be a lot worse, and not being able to have six other people in your house is hardly an infringement of your civil liberties. Another comment that made me smirk was that this is nothing but a “dictatorial government trying to control our society” which is just downright ridiculous. I swear that some people want to live in a dystopia that badly that they’ll just imagine that they’re living in one regardless.

Others read along the lines of, “If this was actually a pandemic the change of rules would be implemented immediately. This is a psychological operation designed to control us” (yes this is an actual comment), and I can’t see this as anything other than click bait. To deny that the pandemic is happening is a massive slap in the face for all of our front line NHS workers who are struggling daily. Equally, you need to give people time to digest the news of these new restrictions, as it can hardly be done on a day’s notice.

My initial reaction to the news was, “I’m not sure that I have six friends to have over anyway”, and whilst I recognise the inconvenience of such a measure being reinstated, I think people are blindsiding the point of it, i.e. keeping the vulnerable safe. Once again, personal outrage is overtaking common sense. It seems to me that the sweeping trend across comment sections is that we have to accept that people will die, like they did with the Spanish Flu, but why should we? The issue I have with some people is the same issue that people had with the government, and that issue is of personal accountability.

It has become obvious that Covid has become a statistical problem rather than a moral one. People have become desensitised to the news, and the issue now is of people not caring anymore and putting others at risk. I saw a comment earlier that essentially puts the blame on those who are vulnerable by saying “why does the economy have to go into shit because of a few diabetics and old people”, and all I want to say about this is that some people are just horrible, and that’s one thing that this pandemic has made even more obvious.

“As for the people who are saying that the rules are too confusing, let’s be honest, it’s hardly like trying to crack the Davinci Code.”

I admit that I haven’t been an angel all the time when it comes to social distancing (we are all human after all), but there’s some people who just couldn’t give a shit. This has become apparent at work, as well as on nights out where smoking areas are like the Wild West and track and trace is non-existent. This one comment, “Covid doesn’t effect places with tills in obviously” made me laugh especially, and not just for the poor use of grammar and spelling. Now, I work in retail and the social distancing measures are a bit of a joke as it is, but that’s made more stressful by people who are simply ignoring the use of masks, or who are wrongfully using the asthma card to get out of wearing a mask all together, or who feel as though they need their whole posse with them to get a new pair of 95’s. Last week I saw someone take six fake puffs of an inhaler as he walked into the store, and I just looked on in astonishment thinking “is wearing a mask really that bad?”. What people need to understand is that for everyone’s financial security, shops need to stay open, but this won’t be a problem if people just stick to the guidelines. As for the people who are saying that the rules are too confusing, let’s be honest, it’s hardly like trying to crack the Davinci Code.

In terms of these new measures, it is because of people assuming no personal accountability that they are coming back into place. Even with track and trace, I’ve heard countless people say that they’ve used a fake name or number for no reason other than because they can? I understand the idea of not wanting to put your personal information out there on a plate for the taking, but it’s for everyone’s own good. You may think you’re healthy, but you could still be a carrier and you can still put others at risk. It’s about reducing the spread by making small changes so that a nationwide lockdown can be avoided. Let’s not forget that we were told that social restrictions could be tightened if things started to get worse, which they clearly are.

Ultimately, I feel as though people need to gain a bit more perspective as to what is actually happening. This blame game is gaining frightening momentum, when all that is needed instead is a bit more ownership over one’s own actions.

By James Merrington

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