Does the road wind up-hill all the way? Yes, to the very end. Will the day's journey take the whole long day? From morn to night, my friend. Christina Rossetti, 1861: Up-Hill.
This week’s COVID briefing paper takes a personal perspective as I recount my many adventures in complying with a call for testing from my local council.
So as to immerse the reader in the experience, this post is long. If you don’t have time for that, you can go directly to the briefing.
The council calls for everyone in my street to be tested
On Thursday 13 August my household received a hand-delivered letter from the chief executive of my local council. There had been an increase in cases in my area, and as a result, they were asking everyone on my street to get tested.
- ME, a knowledge worker who has structured her life so as to minimize interaction with the outside world until the number of daily cases drops a lot lower than it is now;
- OTHER HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS, including people with health conditions, who would be shielding if shielding hadn’t ended on August 1.
Fortunately, everyone else in my household is also in a position to enjoy the mixed blessing of a lifestyle without social interaction. So, none of us reacted to the news of an outbreak amongst our neighbours with fear for our own health, considering our habits over the last six months. Rather, we were, and are, reassured that the local government was taking a lead.
My neighbour, however, was having a different experience. Like most people on our street, he does not have the same privileges I do: he works in a supermarket, he does not have a car, and his only Internet access is through his dumbphone. Days before, he had texted me at the end of his tether, because customers were not wearing masks or observing social distancing. He felt (because he is) unprotected, and said it was only a matter of time before he becomes infected. Receiving the council’s letter only reinforced his alarm.