In an article in ‘The NewYorker’ in May, Dhruv Keeler asks “Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Ever End?” He concludes that “If Americans decide too soon that it is over, it could paradoxically drag on even longer.” (1) It can be argued that Pandemics are social constructs and that they end when people think that they are over. In that case it would seem that the Covid-19 Pandemic is done with. Restrictions have been lifted. Mask wearing, social distancing, good ventilation and caution have become the minority pursuits of killjoys and the risk averse. (2) Unfortunately, the evidence suggests otherwise.
New, more contagious variants of Omicron are infecting more and more people. (3) The Summer has seen more “superspreader” events like the Jubilee and Glastonbury and people are getting sick. For most of us, Omicron is no worse than a cold but for a significant minority infection can become a life changing event. (4)
People do want to get on with their lives. They are weary of restrictions. They want to have fun! The ruling class, though, just wants to make money through exploitation. The working class has to be able to go to work and spend their wages so that the bosses can make their profits. If people get sick that is their hard luck. We have to accept a certain level of ‘collateral damage’ to protect the economy. That is the narrative being pushed by the ruling class to protect their interests. (5)
Prioritising wealth over health, though, is not in the interests of our class. If we get sick, we don’t get paid enough to pay the bills . Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) of less than £100 a week is not enough while we are in the middle of a Cost of Living Crisis.(6) The low paid on zero hours contracts are in a very precarious position. They can not afford not to work and will go to work even if they are infected with Covid-19. The virus will spread through all levels of society, people will be killed by it and the Pandemic will be prolonged.
As has been repeated over and over again on this website, the government will not protect us. It represents the ruling class, it does not represent us. We have to protect ourselves. We need to look after each other through mutual aid in our communities. We need to restrict our economic activity and eschew consumerism. We need to wear masks in public spaces and practise social distancing. We need to get all of the vaccinations on offer. And we need to kick up a stink about an economy which does not work for us but which we have to make sacrifices for.
(2) No masks, no free tests, low sick pay – the government is back in Covid denial http://a.msn.com/01/en-gb/AAYWl24?ocid=se
(3) Shelly Asquith (@ShellyAsquith) tweeted at 6:00 pm on Tue, Jun 28, 2022: Stats indicate 1 in 40 people in England had Covid-19 last week. 1 in 20 in Scotland. Regular testing has stopped but we need to revive it. If you’re going to an event it’s worth taking a test. And government must make it free again. (https://twitter.com/ShellyAsquith/status/1541828974975778816?s=02)
Covid makes a comeback: Cases jump 40% in a week in England http://a.msn.com/05/en-gb/AAYA70u?ocid=se
(4) Fifth wave of Covid has begun, experts warn, with fears for summer disruption http://a.msn.com/01/en-gb/AAYUqFl?ocid=se https://inews.co.uk/news/science/uk-covid-rates-weekend-cases-rise-omicron-zoe-app-1697797
(6) Is it time that that SSP was increased ? staff going into work sick because they can’t afford to not be paid What do you think? Vote and discuss on Organise: https://app.organise.network/dashboard/poll-is-it-time-that-that-ssp-was-increa-Ce7EWhAp?utm_source=share&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=rbMxpBW5zFdK