The COVID-19 Walkers and Talkers – The Slow Transition
THE SLOW TRANSITION
We can see that it’s all changing before our eyes but to what extent are we managing the transition effectively and responsibly during this period? It’s like an exercise of compare and contrast between the early days of the pandemic, for example, May 2020 and now, at the time of writing, May 2022. Masks are rapidly disappearing; when last did you wear one? Physical distancing, what’s that, a distant memory? Lateral flow tests (LFT) have to be purchased now, so many people will not know whether they have or have not got Covid-19.
I talked with someone very recently who said that she was not feeling well. When I queried what she thought might be the cause, she replied that she didn’t think that it was Covid because she was sneezing and therefore it was probably a cold. I commented that when I had tested positive for Covid-19, I thought that I was sneezing and coughing for Britain whilst also maintaining a mucous production factory. I suggested that she did a LFT, I could even give her one. She needed to get from where she was to her home, in a different part of the country, therefore, the logic was that she did not wish to know her Covid status at that point as she had to get the train. I asked if she was going to wear a mask on the train, her response was negative. People’s behaviour has definitely changed. We are becoming more relaxed but we need to continue being careful as Covid-19 is still around and still has the capacity to morph into a different variant, possibly more transmissible and more virulent. Let’s be careful!
It has been lovely seeing more people, becoming reacquainted and catching up with their news. I have had to remind myself that my default greeting with most people, although by no means all, was to give them a hug and a kiss. This only happens to those with whom I feel very close. Otherwise, I need to actively remind myself that a hug might be nice. A key difference now is that I check with the individual whether they are willing to accept an embrace and there are no negative feelings towards them if they do not wish to have any physical contact. My behaviour has definitely changed!
In most indoor spaces I will wear a mask, I consciously do a rapid risk assessment to inform my decision. This is what I tell myself but you can be the judge of this!
I have been fortunate enough to see a live music performance recently which was fantastic, does that do it justice? It was excellent! I feel that most creative activities really satisfy my soul, whatever that might be, nurture, enrich and enliven me. When you have been deprived of something and then have an opportunity to re-engage, the pleasure that is reaped is so much more intense. The whole experience was wonderful! The main singer, Michael Kiwanuka, his band and interaction with them, his understated response to the audience and the clear joy emanating from them produced a truly uplifting evening. Did I see any masks? A handful. Was the venue full (full capacity is 3500)? There was a handful of empty seats. How did it feel? Very comfortable! For me this was strong evidence of how I am changing and feeling more relaxed in the presence of people who I did not know, had no idea of their Covid-19 status and could not get away from. Where does this leave my risk assessment?
I was delighted to receive another invitation to a party in London which I eagerly accepted. As the time draws closer towards the end of May and having noticed that on London Underground tubes the percentage of passengers covering their mouths and noses with a mask varied between 10% and 20%, despite frequent written and verbal reminders, I will be giving my apologies. Family and friends will be very pleased to be in the same place, as I would have been. They will be tactile and affectionate, which will be great, but how many of them will have tested? I will send my good wishes for not being present and avoid the risk of getting Covid-19 again.
For those of you with an interest in such matters, my walking partner and me are still walking and talking after 782 days, at the time of writing, and will continue to do so.
Please stay safe until we connect again.