Home General Info & Awareness Covid-19 : We’re All In It Together – Until We Aren’t

Covid-19 : We’re All In It Together – Until We Aren’t

by InvisiblyMe
A yellow background with a cartoon style digital drawing of the globe with a white face mask around it to suggest the COVID-19 pandemic. Overlaid is the title: We're all in it together - until we aren't.
A yellow background with a cartoon style digital drawing of the globe with a white face mask around it to suggest the COVID-19 pandemic. Overlaid is the title: We're all in it together - until we aren't.

Today I’m excited to share with you a post from my fellow blogging friend, Kirsty at Unseen Beauty. She’s sharing with us a fantastic piece on Covid-19, focusing on issue that bugs me as I’m sure it does many of us here. With coronavirus restrictions lifting and people becoming bored of the pandemic novelty, the vulernable get forgotten, the new opportunities and greater accessibility start disappearing, and it’s every person for themselves again.

Kirsty makes some brilliant points in this post so I’d love to know your thoughts on it too.

Covid-19 : We’re All In It Together?

At the beginning of lockdown, we all had to find some new ways of doing things. We weren’t all in the same boat – some of us were still working, while others were furloughed. Some of us don’t have children, while others may have been trying to juggle home education with a job or other responsibilities. But whether we were shielding for health reasons, or at home because of the lockdown, in the Spring and early Summer, most people spent more time at home. 

A photo of Kirsty where we see her upper body as she leans on the rail of a bridge. She has long blonde hair, she's wearing a short sleeved top, and she has pretty silver bracelets and a necklace.
Kirsty

I’m blind, and on its own, this would have caused me some challenges if I hadn’t had support. I know of some blind people who really struggled to get their groceries online, and others who are still struggling in a world that’s marked out with inaccessible signs and one-way systems that they can’t see.

However, I am also at a higher risk of getting complications if I catch the virus, due to another medical condition. That meant that we started the whole self-isolation thing early.  

At the beginning, there felt like a sense of community. Whatsapp groups started popping up with our friends. Family Zoom sessions became a thing. Zooming with friends became a weekly occurrence. Activities that had previously taken place face-to-face moved online as a matter of course. 

I noticed comments from friends who have chronic pain or who face inaccessibility when it comes to actually getting into places saying that many of the changes benefitted them too. Whether or not they were shielding, online exhibitions, tours, and other events opened up opportunities to them that had been inaccessible before.

I’ve been working online since 2012, and my day often consists of multiple online meetings. To be honest, in the early weeks, Zoom fatigue hit me hard, because after a day in online meetings, the last thing I wanted was more online meetings. But I did take part, partly because I genuinely wanted to see my friends, partly because new opportunities opened up to me – some of the activities would have been hard to get to or too far away normally, and partly because I had a suspicion that it wouldn’t last for ever.

Hand lettering art on a beige background with scrolling handwriting in different colours that reads: "We're all in this together", suggestive of the motto during the covid-19 pandemic.

Lockdown Lifting… Accessible Options Disappearing Already

So was I right? Partly. I have become involved with some really exciting online groups and they are showing no signs of moving offline. To some extent, the people with whom I spend time has changed, and I’ve got to meet some really interesting and lovely people. I don’t see that changing any time soon.

The regular family meetings are still taking place. This is possibly helped by the fact that we are not the only ones shielding, but as long as we’re not sitting there on our own, I’ll keep hosting them.

I was right about other things though. As soon as the restrictions started to be lifted, the online invitations started dropping off. People started to meet up in person again. Online groups moved back offline. Because we don’t need to meet online any more, do we? 

It prompted me to write a post about not losing some good things after the lockdown. It felt like some of the positives were beginning to slip through our fingers like sand, and I wanted to draw people’s attention to them before everything went back to another kind of normal, but one that was more similar to life before lockdown.

Is COVID-19 Shielding Really Over?

I’ve heard surprised comments from people saying things like “oh but you can go out now. Shielding has finished”. The thing is though, of all the people I know who are medically shielding, and even those who are still isolating because they just feel safer doing so, nobody got the sudden urge to go out, hang out on a crowded beach, squeeze into a pub with 200 of their mates and then meet up with all the people they hadn’t seen during lockdown. It just isn’t happening. All the people I know who’ve been shielding don’t want to throw away all the time they spent carefully disinfecting shopping, staying away from others, and refraining from doing things in an effort to stay safe.

The virus is still there. People are still catching it. In some places the numbers are going up. And we don’t have a vaccine yet.

I understand that not everyone is shielding. I understand that we need to get the economy moving. But every time we decline an invitation to go out, take part in something, or do something with friends, I wonder if we’re going to get to the point where people stop asking. We certainly don’t get as many invitations for online things that we could actually take part in now.

Am I sad about it? I guess more disappointed than sad. I’m involved in enough other things and I often have more ideas than hours in the day. But I think it disappoints me how quickly it stopped becoming an issue for people as soon as they weren’t personally affected by it.

Only yesterday a friend said how tired she was because of all the things she’d signed up to so that people will keep them going. Because if they stop, or go back to face-to-face events, she won’t be able to participate.

Can we not do better than this?

What Can We Do To Keep Covid-19 Support & Accessibility Going?

> Be The Change You Want To See

For me this has involved thanking people that are still running online events, and showing up when I can to support them. It means organising things myself. 

> Connect With Those Who Get It

I haven’t actually joined any of the shielding groups on platforms like Facebook, but a quick search showed that they do exist. I think there’s probably still a place for them now – not just through the time when some people were told to shield by their doctors, but in the time afterwards, when those same people don’t feel it’s safe to venture out. We can be there for each other.

Even before the virus, I was involved in the online community – the blogging community, national or international groups that focus on my areas of interest, or groups for business owners. I’ve found a lot of friends that way, and international friendships don’t depend on a coffee face-to-face so you can keep in touch. Virtual coffee meetings are great!

> Follow The Guidelines 

If you see someone out on a walk, don’t assume they’re fit and healthy just because they look ok. Many health conditions are not physically obvious. That person has  as much right to fresh air as you do. If you can see they are trying to give people a wide berth, don’t be the annoying person who gets in their space, either to prove a point or because you’re just oblivious to your surroundings.

Follow the guidelines, give people space, and unless there’s a genuine reason why you can’t, wear a mask.

> Avoid Language That Excludes Others

There was some very generalised language throughout the lockdown that really only served to further highlight people’s differences.

Now that we’re all bored at home – even though many were still working, some twice as hard as before.

Now we can all get back to normal – apart from those who can’t, or who feel it would be too high a risk based on their personal situation.

> Don’t Forget Those That Are Shielding

Any comments like this usually get a barrage of accusations that we want the country to stay in perpetual lockdown. I don’t. But I do want a society in which people like us aren’t forgotten.

So if you have friends who are still shielding, why not suggest something online once in a while, or find some other way to include them?

[ More About Kirsty ]

A big thank you to Kirsty for sharing her thoughts with us on InvisiblyMe. You can find Kirsty on her blog Unseen Beauty. She’s also @EnglishWithK on Twitter.

A black scroll divider.

What do you think? With the novelty wearing thin and many people behaving as though there’s no pandemic, has the essence of support starting slipping? The increased inclusion and accessibility, especially in the online realm, is petering off as people get back to ‘normal’ despite the virus still being there just as it was before. If you’re cautious of the virus, unable to work, vulnerable or are still shielding, do you feel forgotten about?

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33 comments

Gemma - Wheelescapades August 28, 2020 - 3:06 pm

I’m so glad you’ve featured this post from Kirsty. And thank you Kirsty for writing it. I am so with you. What’s getting me is people assuming I can just go out now. As you say, I’m allowed now, so why don’t I?! I had someone say to me well you’ve just got to get on with it at some point, don’t you miss eating out and get that urge to just get back to normal. I don’t, not right now. Don’t get me wrong, I miss things just like everyone else. But my need to stay safe is higher than my need to go to the pub or join the Primark queue.

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 2:47 pm

Well said, Gemma. I’m really glad Kirsty shared this, too. I keep thinking that in essence it doesn’t matter what the government says with ‘allowing us’ to go out; using common sense would suggest that the virus is still there and thus the risk is still there, so I’d rather keep people alive than indulge myself with what I want to do, like going to the pub as you say.xx

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Gemma - Wheelescapades August 31, 2020 - 7:40 pm

Absolutely. There’s just been an outbreak at a factory within a mile of mine. This is far from over. Shame not everybody realises.

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englishwithkirsty August 31, 2020 - 9:51 am

I know. People seem to think it’s like a lifestyle choice, and even though it is a choice, it’s about assessing the risks and coming to the conclusion that some risks just aren’t worth it right now.

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Gemma - Wheelescapades August 31, 2020 - 7:42 pm

It is a choice in a way, but health isn’t always a choice in that some of us understand the risks it could have on our lives. Some have the privilege of never having considered their health.

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englishwithkirsty September 1, 2020 - 9:13 am

That’s true, and the thing here is that the choices don’t just affect us. People seem so stuck on the “nothing’s going to happen to me” point, that they forget how their activities can impact the rest of us. Maybe not directly. But the longer people don’t follow the rules that are meant to keep us safe, the longer others of us have to isolate.

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johnrieber August 28, 2020 - 3:06 pm

Terrific post…we are all in this together, and by sharing our stories and learning with each other, we can get through this stronger

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 2:48 pm

Amen to that, now more than ever! x

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Anne Fraser @theplatinumline.blog August 28, 2020 - 3:12 pm

I think at the start a lot of people were needlessly scared to leave home. Some people have been shielding who did not need to. Now I think a lot of people have become invisible particularly older people who don’t use technology.

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 2:53 pm

I personally feel that the risk is there for everyone, and even with those that may not get dangerously ill with it, the risk is with them passing it to those who could. I agree with how many have now become invisible and you’re right, there’s so much focus on technology (getting groceries, alerts with Track & Trace, general information) that those without it or who can’t use it will be left without the support they need. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Anne.xx

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Rachael Tomlinson August 28, 2020 - 3:15 pm

Thank you for this post, my emerging from lockdown post is getting bigger and bigger by the day, the main issues are arising from accessibility being taken away from us…watch this space xx

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 2:57 pm

I’ve noticed so many online initiatives already going by the wayside. Virtual pub quizzes were such a good idea, but now the pubs are open and there are drive in cinemas, so they’re encouraging people out and appealing to those who are leaving home, forgetting about those who can’t or don’t want to because of the viral threat. Watch this space indeed..! xx

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Sandee August 28, 2020 - 3:22 pm

We are in a high risk group because of our age, but I’m not freaking out about this virus. I worked in a very unhealthy environment for 25 years. I was there when Aids hit and people were freaking out. Then again when we had a spike of TB. There are so many awful things out there. I just decided to be cautious and not stress. I do see the support that many need though. Being a good neighbor to those in special circumstances is a good thing.

Have a fabulous day and weekend, Caz. ♥

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 2:59 pm

I’m glad you’re still cautious but trying not to stress. The stress itself can be a danger to our mental and physical health, so it’s a hard balance to strike. I can see how your earlier experiences would shape your approach to the current coronavirus. I imagine our experiences, and also whether we know those who have been sick or died from covid, will likewise shape all of our opinions and behaviours. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sandee, have a lovely weekend! xx

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Liz August 28, 2020 - 5:10 pm

I just have asthma, but when many were furloughed and I was too in both jobs. But only short in one before they let me go back, which I was so grateful for, for my sanity.
I only went to work 5 dats a week, part time I do and twice a week shopping for groceries, which I walked to both. That was it.

I live on my own and although I am an introvert, I was still struggling, because I had issues in my life. So before the Government announced lone people could form a bubble with someone else, I had decided I would form a bubble with one neighbour who are very supportive to me. So we would sit opposite one day a week for a cuppa.

It’s only a few weeks ago that I have plucked up courage to start walking on trails again. I am still nervous about it though. I walk with same suportive neighbour.

I use the bus. But only when it can’t be avoided. I have anxiety with this.

As for eating out, clothes shopping, or walking in my town centre, I avoid.
I only went to town centre some weeks back because I had to sort a personal matter. But I don’t go for anything else. I am in no hurry.

I am in no hurry to travel further afield. Too nervous at the idea. I am very wary about extending my circle, for the benefit of not passing anything on to my mum when I visit her in the care home.

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 3:04 pm

I’m sorry it’s been such a challenge for you as well, Liz. I know you’ve had a lot going on to deal with anyway, let alone the difficulties that come with the current situation. I’m glad you’ve got that supportive neighbour you can be with, and that you’re able to take occasional, safe walks. I’m with you with all the other stuff, the ‘fun’ stuff like pubs and restaurants and enjoyable shopping trips, it can all wait. I can’t really see how anyone can have a good time doing these things with the precautions currently in place or knowing how risky it all is. Thank you for sharing your experience, Liz. I hope you have a restful bank holiday weekend  ♥

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Blogging_with_Bojana August 28, 2020 - 8:09 pm

Together but alone.
Relatable.

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 3:05 pm

Totally agree ????

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JosieHolford August 29, 2020 - 12:29 pm

This is absolutely on the mark. So many excellent observations and reminders. (And just because you can go out and do X does not indicate that you should do so because the threat has now magically disappeared.)

Great post. Thank you.

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 3:06 pm

I thought Kirsty hit all the good points, too. I’m fully with you on how just because we’re told we can/that we’re ‘allowed’ does not mean we should; just because swarms of people start doing it does not make it safe, because the virus is still there, the same as it was before. I’m glad you liked the post, and thank you for your comment. Have a relaxing weekend, Josie ???? x

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Ann Coleman August 29, 2020 - 1:39 pm

Remembering that others have different needs from us is always a good thing, and it’s so important to stay in touch and offer support. I particularly worry about the elderly, who are still at high risk and often so isolated. It’s devastating, and they need all the help they can get!

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 3:08 pm

It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? It makes me very glad to be living with my parents, who are in their 70s and actually wouldn’t be able to do online shopping or much of anything else. They’re still shielding and it’s starting to get to them now because there’s no end in sight, while some people are out there having a great time. Keeping in touch with each other is so important, too many are isolated or feel lonely. Thank you for the comment, Ann  ♥

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Animalcouriers August 29, 2020 - 2:04 pm

It’s an interesting time. Everyone seems to be reintegrating at different rates, or not at all. Quite confusing.

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 3:10 pm

It’s all a bit off kilter and strange, isn’t it? Just imagine how good the day will be when there’s a safe, effective vaccine that’s available to all, and we can start to look at the pandemic as a thing of the past. Stay safe. x

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Lauren August 30, 2020 - 12:35 pm

Thank you for featuring this post. It is interesting to read other people’s views on Covid. It’s annoying to see some people acting as if everything is now fine when we still need to be staying safe.

Lauren

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InvisiblyMe August 30, 2020 - 3:12 pm

It is interesting to see the opinions on here, I agree. It sounds like many are feeling the same way, that it’s all too risky and we still need to be cautious because in that sense nothing has changed, the virus is still there. Thanks for the comment, Lauren. Stay safe & have a great bank hol weekend ???? x

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James Viscosi August 30, 2020 - 4:23 pm

We’re still staying home and away from other people but some of our friends (and, of course, many people in much of the the rest of the US) are not. At this point we’re expecting a series of lurches where everyone seems to forget there’s a virus and starts gathering unsafely, cases spike, and everything shuts down again, instead of doing the hard work of actually getting it under control. And as we’ve seen in Spain, South Korea, and elsewhere, even getting it “under control” is tenuous at best. Anyway I hope we collectively don’t forget what we’ve learned about inclusion and accessibility and remotely staying in touch, but if history is any guide, well … I guess we’ll see.

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InvisiblyMe September 1, 2020 - 3:24 pm

I’m glad you’re still staying home & away from others, it’s just not worth the risk. And that risk is still there, just because places are reopening and governments are urging us to spend, it doesn’t mean anything with the virus itself has actually changed. You’re right, it’s that continual thing now of lockdown, bored, fathering, spiking, lockdown. Rinse and repeat. If it had been hit harder first time around with lockdowns, travel bans, and so on then maybe we wouldn’t be in this state now, and as it stands it seems like there’s no end in sight unless, or until, a vaccine arrives. Like you and Kirsty, I hope the lessons learned on inclusion and the positive steps forward don’t just disappear as lockdowns lift. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, James! x

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forresting365 August 31, 2020 - 7:30 pm

Thank You for sharing this, Caz!!! And Thank You, Kirsty!!! This is so well written and thought out. You are so right. Sometimes everything these days feels like the Twilight Zone…things do seem much more relaxed and fuzzy although this clearly isn’t close to being over and as You say, is on the rise many places. Great suggestions. Take Care and Stay Safe!!! ❤️

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InvisiblyMe September 1, 2020 - 3:29 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed the piece, too! It really is light the Twilight Zone, totally agree, I can even hear the voiceover in my head. How do we get out?? ???? You stay safe too, Katy, and I hope this is a good week for you lovely xx

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Lindsay September 3, 2020 - 2:50 am

Great post from Kirsty. I don’t understand why everyone is acting as if the pandemic is over! We still have a ways to go. Cases will spike again. I’m still not comfortable being in large crowds or going anywhere unless necessary (that being said, I love my daily walks). Yes, I miss seeing friends and eating in restaurants and going shopping and being social. But we all have to work together to keep this under control. That’s one of our major faults here in America – we’re such an individualistic nation that very few people think about the health and safety of their community.

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englishwithkirsty September 4, 2020 - 2:32 pm

Thank you 🙂
It’s the same here in the UK. People generally focus more on their individual plans and agendas, rather than what’s good for keeping everyone safe.

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InvisiblyMe September 13, 2020 - 2:30 pm

I’m sorry I’ve only just spotted your comment but I just wanted to say I totally agree with how the pandemic isn’t over. I’d agree with Kirsty too, so there’s so much individualistic emphasis, which is sadly showing the ignorance and selfishness of many, at a time when we should be thinking about each other and working together. Of course, the longer this sort of thing goes on for the worse the situation gets and it seems like it’ll never get under control now until/unless there’s a vaccine. Meanwhile, many have been forgotten about as they stay home living a fraction of their lives, others are getting sick and too many are dying. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Linds. Stay safe lovely xx

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