I have to admit that I am over 70. I am therefore at risk and cannot be allowed out of the house except for exercise. I cannot buy my own food. My wife and I cannot help anyone else and have to depend on a friend to keep us fed. Neither of us is knowingly ill: I do feel short of breath occasionally, but that is just when the word “coronavirus” is mentioned. Unfortunately that is quite often, especially on the BBC.
It is a long time since I have hugged anyone except my wife. She views this as a good thing, but I am not so sure. My son is in Canada, and my grandchildren are in Buckinghamshire.
On the plus side, the sun is shining, and we have had some very warm days. I have in fact been getting more exercise than I normally do, though I cannot admit that, in case the Government tells me I don’t need it and locks me in the attic. We are eating pretty well and are improving our house and garden considerably.
Not only that, we now understand Zoom. I’m not sure “understand” is the right word, but we have used it to talk to friends, have meetings and “attend” church services. It is astonishing how many elderly people seem able to do this – not to mention FaceTime and Skype. In many cases these are people who would not in normal circumstances admit to any understanding of technology more advanced than e-mails.
My wife and I have now made friends with two blackbirds, who recklessly approach much nearer than two metres whenever we go into the garden, possibly because we feed them.
So where is it all leading? No-one knows, of course, but I am aware that I am extremely fortunate and could continue like this for some months. I don’t want to, but I could. Others, however, could not – especially those who are being deprived of work and money through no fault of their own.
Is it really necessary? Again, no-one knows. Is it all being done to save the NHS? The NHS is an expensive organisation, being operated at face-to-face level by courageous, skilful and caring people. But I suspect at management level it is in need of severe shaking up, and has been for some time.
It needs more money, but money does not appear magically out of thin air. Are we prepared to pay more tax? If not, it’s no use running campaigns to “save our NHS”. Clap by all means on a Thursday evening. We do. But we need to put our hands in our pockets too.
Many more people will die of COVID-19. Other people will die of other things. People die, sometimes in horrible ways, and we have to accept this. We may or may not think it’s the end of everything. I have lost a cousin to this virus, and it was devastating for his family. But are we so afraid of death that we will do anything to avoid it? Anything? Including making life intolerable for others?
If so, we should remind ourselves that those for whom life is being made intolerable are largely the young people who are the future of our country. They are vulnerable too, and they need some of the love that has been shown to so many others.
This is not a criticism of the Government. I don’t know what decisions I would have made, and I am grateful I didn’t have to make them. It’s just a question. What kind of people do we think we are?