We’re 19 months into the global COVID-19 pandemic and so far none of us has contracted it. When you look at our family and life in general it really does surprise me just how we’ve avoided it this far.
Every day, for weeks, we’ve heard about someone we know having coronavirus. Every day. Some of these people are closer to us than others but it still makes it feel like it’s closing in.
All six of us are lateral flow testing twice a week, if not more. When I think about it, I am about the lowest risk person in the house in terms of bringing it home (so to speak), yet medically I’m the most vulnerable.
Myself, Helen, Lydia and Grace are all double vaccinated. Helen has even had her booster. Delilah has had a single dose – so at the moment, is classed as fully vaccinated. verity is too young to have it yet.
I work from home with occasional travel but Helen works in a school, and a chip shop. She is in close contact with people all the time. Lydia is in sixth form, Grace at college, then there’s Delilah and Verity at secondary school. Covid has hit ALL those education sites and yet still, we’ve avoided it.
The girls’ friends have caught it. Colleagues have caught it. I happened to be in the office at work when a colleague then tested positive. It’s everywhere.
Yet, here we are without having it in the house at all.
Close contacts with positive cases mean we’ve had PCRs too. It’s that close.
I’ll be honest, I’m mostly still wearing a mask in shops but whereas if I’d forgotten it before I would have not gone it, now I just carry on. If I go into the office (which is in Wales) then I wear a mask at all times as that is the rule. I’m still washing my hands regularly but the use of the alcohol gel has reduced – though I use it in shops on entry if they have some available.
Last week I was at a 2-day trade expo in Liverpool. To get into the venue I had to prove I’d tested negative for Covid from a lateral flow test. I’d taken one the night before and this would cover me for the two-day event. Anyone who couldn’t, had to take a test there and then, otherwise, they weren’t getting in.
Once inside the venue, the organisers had asked people to wear a mask, even though the law doesn’t dictate that in England any longer. I had mine on, but it soon became apparent that I was in a significant minority. In fact, it was a good 10 minutes of walking around and finding my bearings before I saw another mask-wearing delegate.
We’d also been asked to wear a colour wristband – red, orange or green. The system was such that red meant to keep your social distance and no hand shakes, elbows or fist-bumping. Orange was meant to signal you were okay with a fist bump but still exercise caution. Green was essentially normal life with handshakes and everything as “normal”. I went with orange and then promptly failed at the first interaction and shook hands. Someone pass me the sanitiser! It felt surreal that this is a new normal way of doing things.
While in Liverpool we ate at a steakhouse on the Albert Dock and nobody was wearing a mask in there. Not the diner as they moved around nor the staff. That felt as normal as normal ever was.
I’d half expected a positive LFT in the days after this event but so far, three tests down and week later I am still negative. But as this post goes out I will be on the road to another event. What can I say, I live life on the edge!
We’ll keep on being careful. I’ll take the vaccine booster when I’m offered it and follow the advice. But, I am ready to get back to normal. I can’t see Covid being beaten and eradicated so the world is going to have to learn to live with this. We are in a new normal, and if we want to enjoy life then we’ve got to find a way to live with that.