Still no lockdown.
Wroclaw is a city – if not in denial – at least in the final throes of a phoney war, but one, I fear that is likely soon to become attritional. There are, as I write, thirty-eight confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Wroclaw; the spread of infection has seen numbers double over the past three days.
At this rate, we aren’t going to have the freedom of the city for much longer. But for now, the parks are full as families and the young, enjoying their COVID 19 Vacation, bask in the warm early spring sunshine, promenading toddlers and seldom-walked dogs along crocus and daffodil lined paths; the city a parody of spring.
Few other representatives of my demographic tread these paths. I am conspicuous in my attempts to put the recommended distance between myself and other human beings; so much so that my disappearing down a bank to achieve it is a regular occurrence. Given a choice between wallowing in dog shit and consuming someone else’s dirty air, dog shit wins every time.
Last week I wrote – flippantly, as is my way – of Doom-mongers and Dissenters, as this drama plays out. Well, so much has changed since then. Freedom of movement has been curtailed in most European cities, and only the UK still stands alone.
I find myself unable to answer the question I am frequently asked (via email, of course): why is this? Why did Boris not take action – until now – to attempt to limit the spread of the virus? Why has it been left to every man and his dog to take individual responsibility for his or her own actions? Why were schools only closed when head teachers themselves deemed it unsafe for staff and pupils (I’m sorry, but I steadfastly refuse to refer to them as “students”) to continue? The evacuation of the Titanic was conducted in a more orderly manner and with more logical forethought than Boris’ answer to COVID 19.
The strain of ‘whatever it takes’ has now replaced the sound bite ‘get Brexit done’, and as one day rolls aimlessly into another, the pound evaporates and businesses are left to make terminal decisions.
Every pub, club, gym or other social hub had been closed for weeks in almost all European countries. But Britain stood alone; post-Brexit Britain, an island in the truest sense once more, free to self-legislate, free to be different and free to do whatever we bloody well want, for no better reason than because we’re British.
I’ll own up.
I’ve changed my views since my last blog.
You may remember – or you may well not – that I had my feet placed well beneath the table in the Dissenter camp. I believed that this whole thing was massive media-hype that would all blow over in a week or two. I now see how wrong I was and I’m prepared to admit it.
But what really annoys me is the attitude of the young.
I’d like to say that it ‘disappoints’ me but I fear that would be an understatement.
The bravado of the young in the face of something that endangers them so little is simply staggering.
They continue to live with scant regard for those – the Four Percenters – for whom this disease is genuinely life threatening, enjoying St Patrick Day parties and other social occasions, a blind ear turned away from those who recommended social distancing. This, to many – but, thankfully not all – of a generation that is not unencumbered with its own issues (and don’t get me started on that one) is nothing more than a speed bump that barely even slows their pursuit of libertine life.
Imagine, for one minute if you will, a virus only considered deadly for those aged between eighteen and forty-five. Things would be very different then. Would supermarket aisles display nothing but tumbleweed, shelves laid bare by the elderly while the venerable slept? I hardly think so.
Would my generation be castigated for seeking the right to have the opportunity to continue living, in the way we are blamed for climate change, the sins of our forefathers and even our archaic attitudes to life?
I live on what I refer to as “The Campus”. It is a self-sufficient and normally happy recent development with excellent amenities largely populated by students. For a week the place was deserted, the students having gone home. Now, bored with home, tired of being told to get out of bed or to tidy their rooms, they are returning in their droves. And to what end? School is out – if not for ever, certainly for summer. My message to them is simple – go home … stay at home … do not clog up the small shops, yet to insist on distancing or to restrict numbers … do not wander the streets in feral hoards, drinking, smoking and doing everything – albeit it unintentionally – to accelerate the spread of this disease.
If there is a point to this somewhat uncharacteristic blog it is this: this is a problem that will have a profound effect on us all, no matter where we live and how old we are. Accept it – we still don’t know how bad it will be but the party won’t resume next week and freedom, as The Eagles sang, “is just some people talking.”
As a species it will have an impact on us all, so we owe it to each other to take action so respect and to protect each other.
And as Sting once sang: “Don’t stand so f***ing close to me!”
Live long and prosper, amigos!