Mmm what a mess we are still in.
Boris talks a lot about us ‘ beating the virus’ What he never does is call out the large slice of the population that are causing the continuous spread.
The virus doesn’t spread itself. The virus is spread by people. There’s not anyone in the UK who doesn’t know how they are SUPPOSED TO DO. No one at all.
Yet still the spread is rapid. No matter what ‘ restrictions’ are in place across the country, people still by and large do what suits them. There are very few people that adhere to the rules in place.
It doesn’t help that there’s vagueness within the rules. For example ‘ you can mix with one family’ … well what do you really think is meant by that ? What would actually be EFFECTIVE against viral spread? Well quite clearly it’s going to be effective if each family has ONE other family that they mutually agree on. What’s clearly NOT effective is that you can spend time with one family one day and then spend the next day with a totally different family, or not even the next day, but later the same day…its quite clear ( in all the vagueness ) that families mix regularly with a whole lot of different families, but one after the other, so are somehow compliant. But it’s not going to work if people do that. It’s obvious that it hasn’t worked. One because the rules are vague, and two because people don’t want to follow them anyway.
But additionally there is a huge gaping hole in the ‘ fight strategy’. That hole is the School Hole. Personally I don’t think the adults in the UK are ‘ reckless enough’ to be entirely responsible for the high transmission rates. For sure there’s pretty large scale non rule following, but it’s not enough to explain the huge numbers testing positive. What does explain those numbers is the mingling of the 7.5 million children in school ( pre 16 ) and the further 4 million in ‘higher education’. As that massive number of humans has carried on mingling pretty much as they have always done, is it any wonder that we find ourselves here in this situation?
The first ‘ lockdown’ that people in the main took seriously ( because anyone and everyone actually thought they might die ) involved the country almost actually coming to a standstill. The streets were empty, the roads were deserted, and schools were shut. Transmission numbers fell and people stopped dying in their thousands. Had we been ordered to wear masks then the numbers wouldn’t have gone up like they did in the first place.
Now by and large people have limited their socialising and adults don’t mix in a pre pandemic manner… but for kids life hasn’t changed very much. They don’t fear the virus because it doesn’t affect them, and they are told going to school is fine. You certainly can’t blame them. True that kids are far less ‘ disciplined’ than they were 30 years ago, but they still have some respect for their parents and teachers’ will, and would comply in the main if they were absolutely told to. However they aren’t told to. Schools are open as per usual ( with some one way corridors and some sanitizers ) but we have 7.5 million humans going back and forth without masks every day inside buildings that don’t have air filtration systems. The teachers have no way to make it all ‘ safe ‘, try as indeed they might.
Online learning would seem to only work well ( ish ) for the private schools that have the financial resources to make it happen. The State schools just can’t do it.
Do I know the solutions? Well yes, shut schools and give all the kids high speed broadband and new iPads, with a quiet classroom room in their homes, and instil a work ethic that doesn’t come naturally in almost all of those kids. Ensure they all sit at the iPads between 9 and 4 Monday to Friday, and don’t see their friends at all. Let them do their homework in the evenings… and accept that that’s just how it HAS to be for few months.
All dead easy, right? Oh and also a parent has to work from home so that the kids are safe. ..
But it’s not going to happen like that. Aside from the fact that nowhere near enough kids have suitable home environments to do the above, the ‘ mental health ‘ of children is given a lot of weight ( though I personally can’t recall ever minding.. being not at school, and I didn’t have 24/7 phone access to my mates ) So of course the interruption to their education has to be dealt with. So why not postpone their exams ( those that have them ) until early August ie by 2 months, and accept that this year there won’t be an 8 week Summer Holiday. Yes, parents won’t be able to jet off on family holidays in July and August, but is that really too much to put up with? Well it’s not, is it? Not really… when the effect is that the spread of the virus is halted here and now by kids not being at school for 2 months, and after that 2 months the vaccination programme will have progressed so far that the balance of ‘ viral effect’ will have tipped our way so that WE, rather than the virus, have control.
Aside from all that I’d like to thank the lovely Lizzy for giving me a family Christmas. It’s been a while since I had one of those! It was lovely to be able to to spend it with her and her 2 lovely children.
At the same time though I spent a fair amount of time thinking about last Christmas… pre pandemic of course, when I spent Christmas Day with Chris ( and Rob S for 2 hours at a pub ( imagine?! ) and then with Chris and his lovely Dad ( along with his now Ex girlfriend, and her 2 sons ). We did have a really brilliant day, and I really felt a connection with his Dad. Very very sadly, that super gentleman died 3 months later ( decades after cancer was actually supposed to have killed him .. ) So I’d like to dedicate this post to Chris’s Dad.
I took a picture of them that day, and I framed one for them both. When Chris went to his Dad’s house after his death, there in the middle of the kitchen table where he mostly sat was the framed picture I’d given to him.
That thought makes me smile.