The Second Wave…

or the second wake up…?

Brighton West Pier. Photograph by The Author

2020 was never going to be an ordinary year. No ordinary number. 20:20 vision. 02 02 2020 at 20:20 became a magical portal with new possibilities that would potentially materialise for the spiritually attuned souls. Just another year for us more cynical beings. Whichever way we look at things, that February 2020 was the turning point for most: some SARS related virus that started from a wet market in Wuhan, China.

The World went through the dreaded lockdown in March; most of us were hoping for a month top. How wrong were we!! Like sacrificial lambs, we accepted this ‘New Normal’. By the time we were ‘released’ in the summer, we somehow knew this newfound freedom would be short-lived . As we developed a craving for eating out again, we not once paid any attention to this pandemic. It is out there, but it’s summer so hey, let’s live. In the back of our minds, we felt that there was this itch from somewhere to lock us in again as we were told new terms such as ‘circuit-breaker’ to ‘fight the virus’. Fear mongers did there best to keep us more adventurous under tabs, whilst conspiracists found their voice on dark platforms.

Finally, summer was over and our children went back to school. The thought of having our children enclosed with Google classroom was not an option for most parents or children. They itched to be with their friends and trust me social distancing is a near impossibility. Kids need social interaction, and quality teaching and learning means face to face, not screen to screen. Strong mental well-being boosts and strengthens immune systems and growing children need to catch viruses to boost their developing immune systems. Enclosing them at home in a bubble is totally counterproductive in the ‘fight’ against this virus.

The mere mortals took precautions, abided by the rules, made up by what I would humbly call Headless Heads, whilst our schools and Universities were allowed to remain open. And hence started the beginning of the domino effect. ‘Circuit-breaker’ makes the news again, but too early to panic! University kids became the culprits of being irresponsible spreaders; hardly fair as they were allowed to go back, many of them are crammed in houseshares and doing part-time jobs to pay their student debt. It is a virus, it needs a human host, and if it was not for the 18–21, who else would be the target? It would be politically incorrect to blame nursery children or 4–11-year-olds or teenagers or the elderly in care homes!

University kids became the easy target I think. Truth is no one knows, we are told of super spreaders, asymptomatic, or people who caught it so mildly that they carried on as normal. Truth is we cannot carry on blaming each other or point fingers. As cases grew (were we looking at active cases or just incremental numbers?) and the number of deaths grew (objectively underlying causes are overlooked I feel), restrictions felt inevitable. The spectre of the ‘Circuit-breaker’ loomed! However, now that France has announced a second National lockdown and the U.K. cannot still decide, the World is no longer silent and it feels restless. This will not be so easily imposed as the 1st time round.

We are witnessing dramatic social and economic changes and challenges. We are told ‘The virus needs to be controlled’. Is a lockdown the solution or a symptom of the unknown? With a rise in anxiety and depression among our population, with small businesses closing down, with jobs being lost, with people running in arrears, with a rise in homelessness, is a 2nd, 3rd, 4th lockdown going to make us ‘win’ this ‘war’? Humbly, I do not believe so! The virus is real, it has side effects, long-term effects for some, but most of us are fortunate enough to recover and carry on living healthy lives. We may catch it again and again, as no one knows how long immunity lasts. Since the beginning of this pandemic we have read about major financial frauds (a good thing in my mind), about how layers of the society of some wealthy states were being ignored but not much being reported on the real human knock-on effects of this pandemic and the true human catastrophe. Are we being marginalised, whilst Governments claim to want to protect us?

The mental impacts, the social restlessness, the economic meltdowns, rising suicide rates compounded by this pandemic, none of these are talked about. All we hear is ‘Cases are rising’ but very little on ‘Recovery rates’. All we hear is is the doom and gloom, not the fact that as of 29/10/2020, worldwide recovery rates are 97%. No one objectively reports the average age of the demised or their underlying health issues. The fact is most of us will catch this and God willing most of will recover, but will we recover from the trauma triggered by the long-term economic and social effects. Who will realistically help the economically challenged layers of our society when there are more unemployments and reduced tax revenues? Who will reassure the University kid that a college degree is somewhat a guarantee for a good job and a path to an independent life?

Will governments lock us in and print money to artificially keep economies breathing? Is artificial respiration the long-term solution or are should come to the realisation that we need to learn to live with Covid-19? Or do we stop living until a miraculous vaccine with zero long term side effects is found? A rushed vaccine programme to me feels very precarious, and some trials have been paused. Today it was reported that the vaccine may not work for everyone; does the flu vaccine work for everyone? Uh, no it does not! Often, I feel we are being taken for a ride, whilst we live in the comfort of our bubbles. But what about the souls who rely on day to day earning to feed their families, the street food seller, the roadside tea maker, the roadside vegetable seller. Are we numb and blind to their pleas? They are not begging, ignored by authorities, and independently standing on their 2 feet to make ends meet? Are they now marginalised?

As many borders remained closed, as the consumption for goods goes down, manufacturing demand will plummet, short term tourism and demand for business travels will slowly be dead unless we are able to reinvent ourselves and become more self-sufficient. But for that to happen, the fear and anxiety-driven by umpteen lockdowns, 2nd, 3rd, xth waves of Covid-19 have to be quelled. Expectations need to be reevaluated, this is nota clear war and enemy of state situation! We do not win this unless we rise as one and collectively live with the reality of a virus. Big pharmas will push their agendas on remedies and vaccines, and we should just let them be, just as we should be allowed to function. Banking frauds will surface more and more as dark economies will be exposed and more sinister dark stories will make the news. All we can do is observe and allow these to pass. Perhaps learn, grow and overcome past mistakes. Move on from the fact that we are makers and movers of our destinies.

Yes, we will wear masks, some will choose to move away from big cities, some will avoid big crowds and most of us will wash our hands for more than 20 seconds! Many will learn to seek help and accept compassionate help, to live with the fact that we are social beings and that we need to develop deep connections. To accept that we thrive better when we are not in isolation. There will be more of an awakening, as more of us learn to function with open hearts, with compassion, and live in gratitude. We will learn to live again and look back on our wayward ways of pre-2020. Our 20:20 vision is perhaps one of heightened awareness.

2020 is not yet over and yet it has been a ride of a year and uncomfortable one as change often is. In time, we will be shiny and good again.

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