Those historians who predicted that we’d soon forget the pandemic were right. We largely have.
I sat with a cup of coffee today reflecting that in a few weeks time it’ll be the third anniversary of the first COVID-19 lockdown. That day in March 2020 when the country stopped to see and hear the Prime Minister address us.
Overnight, we were told, all our lives changed. We couldn’t do what we used to do. We couldn’t go to places. Do you remember? It feels such a long time ago.
Do you remember seeing an old film with crowds and worrying?
Or the metre wide markings outside supermarkets?
Or the industry of facemasks that sprung up from nowhere and faded?
What was the pandemic to public sector people? Long days with Teams calls with no end in sight. Struggling to home school while running a job. Burn out. Missing relatives.
As I drank my cup of coffee I recalled how the branch of Starbucks I was sat in was closed. As I’d gone down with suspected coronavirus my house was under quarantine in March 2020 and I couldn’t go to the shops. We lived off what we had.
Looking back, I remembered how I’d listened to a BBC Sounds podcast on the Spanish Flu and was surprised at the time at what it said about how we reacted. As soon as they could, it said, those who lived through it put the outbreak to the back of their minds and it was largely forgotten about. It was so traumatic, the programme had said, that people didn’t want to remember it.
There are no memorials to the 17 million who died of Spanish flu. I heard a TV producer talk about how of the ideas being turned into films and dramas none are COVID-related.
In the UK, 200,000 have died of COVID-19 and almost seven million globally. Almost 18 million people in the UK have tested positive.
‘All things must pass,’ I used to think on bad days. It broadly has.
But the family and friends of those who died haven’t moved on. Nor have those with long COVID.