Tomorrow is ‘freedom day’. The day when we can more or less abandon our face masks, stop social distancing and return to normal. Pubs, sports venues, night clubs – all can move closer to ‘business as usual’.
It marks an end to almost 500 days of lockdowns and restrictions. We can meet our friends and families unrestricted. We can return to the office. And we can enjoy the summer as if the past 16 months hadn’t happened.
So why, I wonder, aren’t we all feeling a little more excited? And why do some of us feel more worried now than at any time over the past year?
Speaking personally, I have up until now believed that the Government was doing an okay job of handling the pandemic. That is not to say they had got it completely right, and that better decisions could not have been made. But there seemed to be logic to their actions, and there seemed to be broad agreement between politicians and scientists.
But now, the message we are getting from the Government is confused and at times contradictory. The emphasis is shifting towards personal responsibility and common sense, and yet the number of people being ‘pinged’ and being told to isolate is increasing at such a rate some feel this is another lockdown in all but name.
We had the promise of the vaccine rollout, and whilst nobody can deny this has been very successful, it clearly has not completely stopped the spread of the virus. And while I would vehemently oppose compulsory vaccination, there does seem to be some groups in society that are more reluctant than others to be vaccinated – which increases the risk for us all.
Leighton Buzzard has recently seen some of the worse infection rates in the whole of Central Bedfordshire, with at least one school closed for a week and several others sending home whole year groups. This last week will be a struggle for many schools, with the focus being to get to the end of term without further infections.
Everyone needs a break, and the last thing anyone wants is to spend the first 10 days of the summer holidays isolating!
It has been suggested this can be traced back to one ‘super spreader event’ in the town, and whilst I have not seen anything to substantiate this, it should be a wakeup call for everyone.
Even though most restrictions are to be lifted tomorrow, it does not mean we should all rush out and pretend the last year and a bit has not happened. We must all take responsibility for not only our own safety, but we should think what impact our actions might have on the wider community.
Just because you can do it doesn’t necessarily mean you should do it!
In the light of the high infection rates in Leighton Buzzard, the mobile testing centre will be at Astral Park 7 days a week. If you need a test, you should ring 119 to book an appointment.
If you have symptoms of Covid, a lateral flow test will not give an accurate result – you will most likely get a false negative.
You should book a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of the main symptoms (source NHS): a new or continuous cough, a high temperature and / or a loss of taste or smell.
Additional symptoms to look out for (source BBC): headaches, feeling ‘off’, muscle aches, chills, loss of appetite.
Vaccinations are available in Leighton Buzzard:
Grovebury Road Pharmacy, Unit 2 Enterprise Court, Grovebury Road
Lloyds Pharmacy, 3-5 Market Square.