Life After Covid

28 Feb 2021

This week a 'roadmap' out of lockdown was announced, and people are making plans left, right and centre. Festivals sold out in 24 hours and people are booking holidays. After spending most of the past 12 months in one lockdown or another, it's no surprise that the rumour of an end in sight will raise hopes; 12 months in which every person has been touched by this pandemic in one way or another. I'm nervous, though, as we make this transition to some sort of normality, even if the road ahead is going to take a few slow months of careful steps. 

A picture of swans on an autumn day in a Leicestershire nature reserve

When the pandemic hit in 2020 and we entered our first lockdown, which as expected lasted longer than we thought it would, I saw changes in society that I wasn't expecting; people came together, communities helped one another, support was offered from everywhere possible, to make sure people were fed, people had the support they needed, and no one went without. Homeless were taken off of the streets, neighbours who had never spoken before stood socially distanced on doorsteps applauding the work of our emergency services, and there was a unity I have never experienced in my 32 years on this earth. 

Our sheer fear of this invisible enemy, brought people together, and for the first time in a long time (especially after years of Brexit dividing the Country), I saw good in places I never would have expected it and people I thought were beyond it. 

So what happens now, with the end in sight? Are we still going to work together to keep our communities together, or do we go back to how we were before? Do we help the most vulnerable in our society, from the homeless to the clinically vulnerable whose lives have depended on us following the guidelines to keep them safe? Or do we leave this lockdown, with a vast proportion of the Country vaccinated, and say "tough luck" if this continues, so long as we can get on with our lives again? Will voices continue to rise around the need for better mental health services, or will we shy away from confronting conversations about a service so severely underfunded and desperately in need of help for decades, with our stiff upper lip in place?

There has been so much loss over the past year, unimaginable loss, all over the world with more families grieving than my heart can cope to think about. There have been times my own family have been left in fear that we may lose a loved one, and I'm sure it's a worry most of us still have, even with vaccines in place. I really hope the compassion and unity we've experienced this past year won't be forgotten or never be seen again, once things go back to some sort of relative normality. I am hoping, that whilst devastating and life-altering on the biggest scale, there will be something we can bring out of the pandemic with us, which makes every society around the world better in one way or other.

Only time will tell.