A few weeks ago, I took my first flight abroad since the pandemic. Before boarding, a tannoy announcement requested that masks would have to be worn during the flight. A frustrated, mask-less lounge collectively signed and a disgruntled queue started forming at the vending machine selling single masks (for £3.95 per mask). “Outrageous! I thought this was all behind me” said one fellow passenger to me.
And maybe we all did, but it’s clear we all have a very different attitude to the pandemic right now. Shops are largely maskless in the UK with the exception of slightly older population still mindful of the impact of the virus. We’ve been in blissful denial for months that it’s still with us.
New statistics yesterday show however that we’re potentially now in another wave of the pandemic. The ONS data, which give the most reliable picture of UK, suggest that the steady fall in infections over recent months may have gone into reverse as cases are driven up by the more transmissible Omicron variants.
According to the ONS survey, an estimated 797,500 people in England and 27,700 in Northern Ireland tested positive for Covid in the week ending 2 June, up from 784,100 and 24,300 respectively in the week before. (Source: ONS / Sage 10.05.22)
Which is why I’ve gone back to masking up in shops and reverting to being cautious. The last thing we want is another winter punctuated with new COVID waves and bouts of illness and disruption across all areas of our daily life. The best way to avoid a return to lockdowns and hospitalisations is by being careful and wearing if that means wearing a mask again when shopping or in enclosed spaces, so be it. Maybe then we can avoid another serious wave and to quote the frustrated passenger, it will be all forever behind us.