On Monday 23rd of March 2020 at 8pm our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, came on live National TV to inform us that the situation with COVID-19 had escalated. As a result, the UK would be put on lockdown in order to control the spread of the virus. By this point the world was, and still is, in what I call global chaos. A third of the world is on coronavirus lockdown, that’s 2.7 billion people.
Here are some of my documented thoughts throughout the first week.
24th March: Day 1 in lockdown
Imagine walking down one of the busiest high streets in East London and seeing ‘closed’ on every single shop window, yes even the dodgy ones that sell stolen phones one end and kids toys on the other. At first, a sense of panic rushed through my blood as a I selfishly thought ‘what am I going to do if I need to buy something?’ Once I got over myself, I felt extremely sad. What was not long ago a community full of life, colour and culture was now just an empty road embodied with fear. Then I thought, is this what Armageddon feels like? Distressed people queuing 2 meters apart outside supermarkets, with masks covering majority of their faces, with only their eyes to show their anxiety. The desperate and vulnerable elderly locked in their houses for the foreseeable future. But I quickly came to the conclusion that it was not because I went home and felt safe again with my cup of tea.
25th March: Day 2 in lockdown
Aside from the infections and deaths, which the media has kept us all very well informed on, the attack on peoples’ livelihoods has been devastating to watch. Many people do not have the luxury of being able to work from home, the luxury I possess yet perhaps take for granted. People are being forced to go to work, putting themselves in high risk of being infected in order to feed their kids. Businesses are not surviving this economic climate and are forced to make people redundant and not pay their wages. Business owners who have worked terribly hard to make their dreams a reality watch this unforeseen virus destroy everything they’ve worked for. For this reason, remarks like ‘We are all in the same boat’ are very ignorant. We are all in the same ocean. But some of us have very grand boats, with beautiful interiors, while others are struggling to keep afloat.
26th March: Day 3 in lockdown
There is something so poetic about the current state of our world. For the first time, we are all fighting one common enemy. Suddenly topics like Brexit, that divided the country like nothing ever before, don’t matter. Ironically it has taken a devastating virus to make us realise we need to lean on each other from time to time. It reminds us that life’s beauty is inseparable from its fragility. Tonight at 8pm the country took part in a 2minute appreciation clap for our NHS workers. The virus has sucked away the magic from everything these past few weeks, but those two minutes of pure union and community across the UK brought that back. We are finally learning just how important social systems like the NHS are and how lucky we are to have them when we are most vulnerable. Big up the NHS.
27th March: Day 4 in lockdown
I have a confession to make. At first I thought, this lockdown thing would be quite nice. Working from home in my pyjamas with an unlimited amount of coffee breaks, endless movie nights with my favourite snacks and spending extra time with my family. What’s not to love? Kinda like a little holiday. But just a few days later and I am starting to really feel the cracks. There is nothing liberal nor democratic about a whole nation in lockdown and I just really miss coughing without feeling like a fucking jihadist. I miss the small things that I took for granted. I miss walking into a coffee shop and ordering myself a coffee, chatting about the most crap with my friends over a cheap pizza, waking up and not feeling the weight of global economic collapse before I’ve had my breakfast. I even miss London’s rush hour.
My love goes out to everybody suffering in these uncertain times. I hope we can soon hold hands and watch lilies grow, while the sun is reflected through our eyes, on a hot summers day. May we all see better times.