What just happened? After a year of caution, life was opening up. I’ve eaten in a restaurant – beautifully clean and with spaced-out tables. I’ve stayed in a hotel – with a one-way system, mask-wearing staff and table service. I was even planning to take a train to see my daughter and the grandchildren after a year of staying away.
Then freedom day arrived and it feels like back to lockdown. Do I now feel like taking a train? Geen. Do I want to stay in a hotel or visit a restaurant? Geen. Back to life as we knew it means back to queuing at a bar, clearing used cups and trays to find a clean table, and sitting in crowded trains or buses with coughing passengers. For a short while we had freedom to unlock, but on Monday it disappeared. O, the irony.
Maandag, even before reading Polly Toynbee’s article (Boris Johnson’s ‘freedom day’ isolation tells us the virus is everywhere, 19 Julie), I became acutely aware that the people who would not be wearing masks after “freedom day” would be mostly “swaggering macho men”.
This became clear to me when I visited our local supermarket on Monday. The staff had continued to wear masks, all the women and the older men were wearing masks but, siedaar, none of the younger men were wearing one. Not one. So, ja, Polly, you were spot-on with your observation: the hordes of “swaggering macho men” are alive and well – so far.
Question: how do you make a vaccine-resistant variant of Covid-19 and get it into the general population before anyone notices and when it’s too late to stop it spreading? Answer: allow nightclubs and other potential super-spreader events to open when case numbers are high and rapidly rising, and insist that only vaccinated people can attend.
Dr Andrew Makoff
Retired molecular biologist, Londen
I read with mounting incredulity that vaccine passports are planned to be made compulsory in “packed venues” (Verslag, 19 Julie) – but not until more than two months after said venues have been allowed to admit all and sundry. A number of probably unprintable comments come to mind, the mildest involving stable doors and horses.
One is left with the lasting impression that our government would be unable to arrange a convivial evening in an establishment where alcoholic drinks were manufactured.
Darlington, County Durham
I went to the Thames Embankment on Monday to walk along the Covid wall to remember friends and patients who have died. I looked over the river and saw an archaic building with matching attitudes to the majority of the population.
Their attitude to allowing hundreds, if not thousands, of preventable deaths brought the words of Pink Floyd to mind: “All in all you’re just another heart on the wall.”
Dr Michael Peel
The words of Leonard Cohen’s Closing Time keep going through my head: “Looks like freedom but it feels like death / It’s something in between, I guess.” I wonder why.
Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire