During the Second World War, Winston Churchill and co. spent considerable time planning for the widespread panic and fear within the nations main cities in response to The Blitz. London was subject to devastating bombing from the Luftwaffe nearly every day for almost two months, with more attacks on civilians in multiple other industrial cities and ports up and down the country. Millions of houses where destroyed, lives upended and it's estimated that around 40,000 innocent civilians died.
Yet the incapacitating fear and terror that you would expect and that the British government expected, never really materialised.
In his book David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell talks about people’s responses in overcoming adversity. Those directly affected by for instance a I direct hit, or those who suffer “near misses” can be left traumatised or worse. Those who have “remote misses”, those who lived through the crisis but were not directly affected, often develop a sense of invulnerability.
As all the dust is starting to settle on our own current crisis, we are all becoming increasingly keen to push on with our lives.
Many people are still trying in vain to return to life as it was before.
Many people are pushing to build a new and better future.
There are people in both camps that are forgetting that there is still a significant risk to health out there and we must all take responsibility for our own actions. We must recognise that the decisions we take don’t just impact our own health but they can significantly contribute to the welfare of those around us, and the loved ones of those around us.
There are millions of people globally that have been affect directly by the virus, either to themselves or a close relative.
There are however probably more people who have not been directly affected (yet).
As society is gradually being reintroduced to one another, those people who have not been completely traumatised by the current turmoil are starting to grow in confidence. “I went to Tesco last week and I didn’t get it”. “I popped into Starbucks and I didn’t get it”. And so on.
This is a very dangerous territory to blindly meander through.
As confidence grows, people will start taking less precautions. Taking less precautions may of course mean an increase in danger to themselves, but also an increase risk to the rest of society, to you, to your family and particularly to the vulnerable. The cumulative effect of this may be potentially devastating.
A dreaded “second peak” or a “return to lockdown” is merely a curve on a graph or a short step backwards before we eventually all move on. The concern is that if you don’t take sensible precautions, people might die. You may know them personally, you may not, but somebody will, and someone’s life will be torn apart because you felt pretty relaxed about the situation and decided that you found the mask a little bit constricting or itchy or hot.
If you’re feeling chipper about the 41,433 COVID related deaths in the UK at the time of writing, then good for you. But please don’t compromise the well-being of everyone else by taking unnecessary risks.
As more businesses like hotels and restaurants reopen, use them if you want to, these businesses desperately need our support more so than ever before, but please do so safely and responsibly.