Is covid here to stay?


The funny thing about dystopian worlds, is that the people in them never realise until it’s too late. There’s always some massive catastrophe like a war, or a bomb, or even a virus. Then boom. Their lives are changed and normally not for the better. Covid- 19 feels like that turning point to me, and how the government handle the rise in cases with the new Omicron variant will determine, not whether or not our lives will change but rather how dystopian the rest of our lives will be. 


On the 23rd of March 2020, Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown, because cases were getting too high and citizens needed to be protected. Then three days later the lockdown came into effect. When the lockdown began there were just over 3000 covid cases a day, and around 6% of new cases were dying a day. However, as the lockdown went on the NHS became more competent and prepared to deal with cases, that even though case numbers were increasing, number of deaths were slowly plateauing. Therefore on the 1st of June Johnson began to reduce the lockdown allowing schools to reopen and by the 15th non essential shops reopened.


The UK went into lockdown later than most other countries and also came out of lockdown a lot earlier too. We were all told that there was a plan and despite the spike in cases they did eventually begin to fall, hence the summer of 2020 was relatively normal. In August the “eat out to help out scheme” was introduced, to help restaurants get back on their feet after the long sabbatical, this drove the masses out and for a short period of time brought life back to the UK’s economy. 


But it didn’t last long with every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Loads of people gathering equals to a higher infection and transmission rates. Only a month after more lockdown restrictions had been eased. Johnson, then imposed the ‘rule of six’ on the 14th of September as cases began to rise to around 3000 a day again things swiftly began to lockdown again, with a curfew and then a three their system all being introduced within the following month. It wasn’t long before we were in a nation wide lockdown again on the 5th of November 2020. Christmas that year was the eerie and very lonely for many people, three households were allowed to meet but many chose not to. 


A year ago today on the 6th of January 2021, the best start to the already doomed new year, was a third lockdown. This time it lasted two months and on the 8th of March the government suggested that children would be allowed to go back to school. On the 29th January 2021,  the lockdown was officially over for everyone. Since then there hasn’t been another lockdown, restrictions on travel, have changed depending on the covid climate in other countries, but most people have seen life go back to normal, or as normal as possible. With the roll out of the vaccine which has been mainly successful with over 133,000,000 vaccines  in Britain, being given out in a span of 13 months, there was no need for any further prohibiting of movement. 


I was 14 when covid started and next year (2023) I turn 18, that is the bulk of my teenage life where I’ve either been in a lockdown or had some sort of restrictions on my freedom. Though it has been hard, I would rather stay home than thousands of people dying every day all in the name of bringing back normality. That’s why after the PM’s speech last night a lot of the country are baffled. Cases have sky rocketed to a an all time high with an average go 180,000 cases being reported on average this week, and deaths have also been slowly going up with with an average of 170 also being reported this week. 


Boris Johnson named many factors as to why a lockdown at this moment in time was not needed, and a little part of me was relived, because I will never again take the freedom that we are afforded for granted, yet the ferocity of this new variant doesn’t ease my thoughts with this decision. The government have decided to stick to ‘Plan B’ which basically means that instead of locking down, other measures will be taken to keep the virus under control. Despite him saying “this is the moment for the utmost caution” we are still relatively free.

 His main reasons behind this were that:

“Omicron is milder” therefore high cases doesn’t mean higher deaths 

Getting vaccinated is effective enough as a harrowing 60% of people in the ICU are not vaccinated and 90% do not have their booster shot 

Boris briefly mentioned the economy and peoples mental health confirming that “This is a balanced approach” 


So there you have it, for now there will be no lockdown, just wear your mask, stay socially distanced, get tested regularly and get vaccinated. In my opinion the true reason behind keeping the country open is not fully being explained, whilst business make money and the economy grows, this unfortunately is the new normal, and for now we have to be content with it, live in fear of contracting the new variant. Enjoy the freedom whilst you have it, because the tipping point, when no more excuses can be made, will no doubt come soon …