Descending the Peak
 

Slowly but surely, we're picking up the pieces and preparing for happier days to come. Younger years are to return to schools from 1st June and more than two people will be able to meet up with social distancing. Furthermore, our atmosphere has temporarily benefited from the lockdown, with nitrogen dioxide levels in cities falling by up to 60%. Many anti-climate change campaigners hope that these past months could act as a springboard for our country into a future with more environmentally friendly policies.

Writing from a bedroom in Pershore, I'm still grappling with the fact that a virus originating on the other side of the globe could reach our community in months. But here we are. We're all doing our bit. Thursday 28th May saw the final eight o'clock clap to support our invaluable NHS; the vast majority of us are sticking to the rules and respecting the boundaries as they're gently adjusted.

Recently, I received a testing kit for the virus as part of a national survey conducted by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI. Inserting a cotton wool bud down your throat and then up your nose is something I'll never do again. The instructions said to keep the swab refrigerated, so the box labelled: BIOHAZARD sat beside the milk and the Diet Coke for about an hour and a half until the courier arrived. The results came back quickly. I was negative for the virus at the time of taking the test. That made my day.

Sadly, at the time of writing this, the number of deaths in this country due to Covid-19 has passed 38,000. The phrase: “every death is a tragedy” seems to have been used so frequently that I think it's lost its meaning. With arguably the most reported deaths in the world – taking population size into account – this will be a gloomy part of recent history. We are getting through this.

A small minority have flouted the rules on our beaches, but in times like these, people have shown their true colours. I spoke with a few friends via social media about their lockdown experiences. They said how “the last few months have been very strange but also weirdly normal at the same time” and although they missed seeing friends, the opportunity to spend more time with close family was also acknowledged. “I've found that in lockdown I've had more time to do things I like doing, such as reading more,” said one. “The one downside has been missing GCSEs and also the work that's been set isn't the same as just having normal lessons.” (On that note, I believe the versatility of schools during this lockdown should be praised. Online lessons and homework has enabled all years to continue with schoolwork so as to avoid a jarring start in September.)

“If anything, the lockdown has taught me to find different ways to keep myself occupied, as well as reminding me to try to not take the little things for granted ever again,” added another. “I've kind of learned how to disconnect (from troubling articles).” “Life has been okay, although I am really looking forward to lockdown lifting and going back to school …”

Gradually, we are descending the peak. The nation's priority now is to avoid a second one. So please ensure that you socially distance. Restrictions are being eased steadily and improvements are happening everyday. Stay safe.
 

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