It depends on which corner of London you miss, any of these days, it is possible to forget that we are in the hardest confinement that – on paper – the British have lived. For example, when you walk through one of the splendid parks of the city. Families, couples, a couple of friends laughing … the atmosphere is relaxed; you barely see a mask. Nobody would say that on this very day, in this same city, hundreds of people stay in a hospital bed, maybe in an ICU, hoping to get over COVID-19.
Every afternoon, a minister goes out with the medical and scientific leaders to give the figures; to explain how the national vaccination plan, the Johnson government’s big gamble. It is an image that is easy for us to identify, from Spain, where we have also become accustomed to these daily appearances, which repeat the same pattern every day. This Tuesday, for example, the news was that 1,243 daily deaths have been reached. 45,000 people have tested positive. And the ministers insist: we must comply with the rules. We do not have to toughen them, if they are well done. And so that they are fulfilled, they announce more firmness against the offenders.
Laura, a Spanish nurse at St. Thomas Hospital, tells us that they have not yet reached the level of overflow that was reached in Spain in the worst weeks of March and April. But the pressure is increasing and they do not see in English society awareness or knowledge of the danger to which they expose themselves, when they insist on leading a normal life. His partner Andrea, a native of Cádiz, who has been working in London for seven years, is more vehement: “There is already a point that doesn’t mince words or anything and you ask them, out of curiosity, but let’s see, who have you been with? Suppose you can’t do that. We are at National Lockdown. That we have been forbidden to get together at Christmas! “she exclaims between indignant and incredulous.
“We have to give up the things we like the most”
The head of Health – the English Salvador Illa, we could say – Matt Hancock, said this Monday that to defeat the virus “we must give up the things that we like the most” and that, generally, they spend by sharing our time with the people we love, appreciate, enjoy … It is a high price, he acknowledged, but in London improvised cemeteries are beginning to be opened on the outskirts, to be able to bury such a volume of deceased , they are already over 80,000. And that price nobody wants to pay.
At the BBC, after many months of pandemic, they still project the image of sick people warning that the virus is not a story. It exists and it can kill. “Look at me as I am,” almost all of them say, lying on the bed. “It is not a lack of information. There is information everywhere”, say our two nurses. But when we ask those people who walk in the park, they tell us that they feel safe, that they already spend a lot of time at home.
And it is true that the virus in the open air is much weaker and the probability of contagion decreases enormously. As it is also true that we have been under the yoke of this microorganism for many months that has come to make our lives bitter, that we are all very fed up. All that is true, yes, but the relaxation does not cease to amaze, the absence of drama, with which these adverse circumstances are taken here. It may be the latest example of the famous British phlegm.