By David Gledhill, Marketing & Communications Lead
Two weeks into the second lockdown of this coronavirus crisis and some people are finding it tough going.
We went into the lockdown better prepared in all sorts of ways – we all learned a lot during the first lockdown and organisations, working together, had planned for it, just in case.
The Helpline is staffed by experienced and knowledgeable volunteers, having helped more than 4,250 through this crisis and it is now networked with other groups and statutory bodies, who were poised to help where they could
But no amount preparation could galvanise people mentally for a second round of isolation – being kept apart from the very friends and relative they were finally being allowed to meet again.
It has not been helped by a severe second spike of cases in the Bay – in some areas involving many more people than first time around – forcing hundreds into self-isolation within days of the lockdown.
Brixham is said to be a hotspot as are some districts of Paignton but wherever we live the focus remains on us to stop it spreading further.
We can blame the prime minister, Boris Johnson, we can blame the health secretary, Matt Hancock, but it is not about politics, and it is not about politicians.
Locally we can blame the police for spoiling our fun or the council’s director of public health, Caroline Dimond, for repeatedly emphasising what we all need to do – hands, face, space.
We can blame tourists for bringing it in (not so), or we can blame the science choosing a conspiracy theory instead. But in reality, there is only one thing to blame in this crisis – and that is the virus itself…
The fact is we are the ones that are spreading it, and for that, we must take full responsibility and ensure that, whether in lockdown or not, we are not tempted to relax the rules or become complacent.
It isn’t easy and it is frustrating and when track and trace glows red on your phone, it is tempting to ignore it, as so many must have considered doing in the last few weeks, before taking full responsibility, not just for their own health, but the health of others.
None of us think that it could possibly happen to us, particularly if we think we have been careful, but evidence across the country shows that is simply not true. How many of the 70 plus people who have died in Torbay thought it couldn’t happen to them? It did.
From a purely personal point of view, I too felt that my cautious mask and glove-wearing approach to everything would get me through the worst of it, ensuring my vulnerable, shielding wife would be ok too.
But a quick drink the evening before lockdown at my local rugby club put paid to that. The track and trace message came through two days later, and my first reaction cannot be repeated in a family newspaper.
I raged against the club (unreasonable as they went above and beyond in making the premises covid secure) and against the young fans who were there to watch Manchester United on the big screens (and did not act responsibly). I berated myself for risking a drink before lockdown 2 and finally came to the sensible option of blaming the virus that has done so much damage to so many lives.
However, as the realisation sunk in, I knew we had to do everything we could to minimise the risks and we divided up the house accordingly – me downstairs and my wife upstairs with cross over points, like the kitchen, disinfected after every use.
Our good neighbours were on hand to do the shopping, help walk the dogs and ring occasionally to check all was OK and I can’t begin to begin to say how much that meant when the potential was to be cut off from everyone for the duration.
It has not been easy (and not helped by having a socially isolated birthday part way through) but to do anything other than total isolation would have been irresponsible and dangerous not just for my wife, but for everyone.
I have been lucky, it has only been two weeks of isolation with no illness, and I have a fabulous support network but if you or someone you know isn’t so fortunate do ring the Helpline on 01803 446022 because we are there for them.