Today was my eighth Saturday handing out cakes and smiles, and the first time to date that I was rained on, which is pretty good going when you live in Scotland.
On the positive side:
Every single brownie and square of banana bread in my basket was gleefully snapped up (although this generated mixed feelings with the menfolk at home who have come to regard any returning cake as their due);
I met a number of lovely and interesting people who are equally horrified at the harm continuing restrictions are causing;
I bumped into friends I haven’t seen for a while;
I met some people I know in the hospitality trade and found out about their new local business that I will support when they open;
I made LOTS of children very happy with my cake delivery;
The guy who sits outside Tesco and I now greet each other with cries of ‘My Princess!’ and ‘My Prince!’ as I swirl towards him bearing cake.
On the negative side:
Although town was busier than I’ve seen it for a year, the vast majority of people were wearing masks outside, and many were making their young children wear them;
My more assertive umbrella – whose message can be swiftly read as I approach – causes a lot more people to body swerve me;
And the most utterly depressing thing of all was meeting a couple of self-described doctors (late 20s?) who were gung-ho for restrictions, terrified of a third wave, and unconvinced about the ability of vaccines to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed by people suffering from variants.
“We cannot risk hospitals being overwhelmed” they said
“But (according to Scot Gov website) there are today a total of 68 people in hospital in Scotland with Covid, and only 8 of those in the ICU” I said.
“Variants are a danger” they said
“According to the extensive research carried out by the CDC (US Centre for Disease Control), not a single known variant poses a significant threat to invalidating any of the vaccines currently in use in the US or UK” I said.
“But they could” they said.
“So what criteria do you think would have to be met for us to lift restrictions?” I asked
“We don’t know, but there hasn’t been a single pandemic in the history of the world that hasn’t had a third wave” they said.
“But none of those other pandemics had a vaccine for the vulnerable ” I said.
“But we haven’t vaccinated everyone yet” they said
“In the UK, out of a population of 68 million, we have vaccinated over 45 million people (I was wrong: we have given 52 million vaccinations, 35 million 1st doses and 17 million 2nd doses) and that includes all the top risk groups” I said. “You’re doctors, do you not believe that vaccinating the vulnerable works?” I asked. “It has been comprehensively shown that we have broken the link between case numbers and hospitalisations (and ergo deaths).
“It’s still early days” they said.
“It’s been over a year” I said, “and 400,000 fewer people started cancer treatment this year compared to last, children’s education has been trashed, depression levels are rising, addiction is spiralling, independent businesses that people have poured their lives into are going to the wall, and all this for a virus that is 99.6% survivable and with an average age of death older than average life expectancy (82 vs 81 years old). At what point would you judge that the collateral damage caused by the restrictions outweighs any benefit?”
“We cannot risk hospitals being overwhelmed” they said.
At this point we agreed to part ways.