It has now been a full year since we went into the first lockdown. People were nervous and anxious about what this strange new world would be like. A world behind locked doors, Internet grocery shopping, home exercise and (possibly the worst) home schooling.
Two weeks in and we started to hear stories about dolphins swimming in canals, birds long thought lost returning and the potential that the Earth was healing whilst human activity slowed to almost nothing.
Then the politics kicked in, with governments trying to convince people that they had a plan anf it was only a matter of months before it would be safe for us all to emerge.
I remember as the first lockdown was eased and I ventured out to a DIY store to pick up some essentials. I remember the fear, the sense of alienation and suspicion as people were forced to queue outside, two meters apart. Then finally seeing the state of the store, shelves stripped clear with nary a resupply in sight.
The feeling of trepidation worsened as we returned to work. For those of us who teach it was even worse, struggling to deliver a quality education whilst terrified that one of our careless charges would infect us with this terrible virus. I remember hearing about colleagues who were struck down by the illness and walking into a classroom only to find out that they had all been sent home because one of them had caught it.
Then there was the pre-Christmas lockdown (although our government seems to have either willfully forgotten or brazenly glossed over it). We all had to be good boys and girls so that Santa Johnson could reward us with an armistice on Christmas, so that we could all frolic and mix as if COVID-19 was something made up to frighten old people. I was gratified to hear both colleagues and students give voice to the injustice of other faith groups being forced to celebrate their festivals alone in either lockdown or a tiered social distancing measures.
Then came the inevitable consequence post-Christmas. For some ridiculous reason, Schools were forced to open for one day before the whole country was thrown into a second (third really) lockdown. A new terror roamed the streets; mutated COVID strains.
A number of vaccines have been developed to combat the virus and approved. The roll out began almost straight away in the New Year. Would the vaccine be good against the new strains? The scientists reckon they should be… Should be?
Two and a half months later the restrictions are being eased again. Schools have reopened, but a whole fresh bunch of people have been told to isolate. Originally it was only the elderly that were told to shield, but now people with weakened immune systems and lifelong conditions like diabetes were also told to shield. Soon though, we too will have to return to work. Meanwhile, the experts are already warning of a third lockdown fast approaching from Europe.
What will COVID Year 2 bring?