Living with covid means living with inconvenience
Not returning to normal

Recently, I’ve overheard a few people I know saying something like:

“I’m deleting the NHS app.” Or: “I’ve turned off notifications.”

Most of the time, it’s because they don’t want the app around any more, intruding into their lives. They don’t want it telling them they’ve come into contact with someone who has, or might have, covid. If they can’t be told, they can’t be inconvenienced, and they won’t have to change their plans, or cancel their holidays, or isolate at home with their kids.

The same people often repeat the Tory party line: “We have to learn to live with this virus.”

Yes. That’s actually a sentiment I agree with.

But people say those words “learn to live with the virus” without thinking very hard about what they actually mean.

Living with the virus does not mean an instant return to pre-Covid normality.

Living with the virus does not mean you can pretend the virus doesn’t exist.

Living with the virus does not mean that you can ignore rising case numbers, and wave them aside with “It’s fine, we’ve all been double-jabbed.” Look at recent events in The Netherlands.

For one thing: no, not everyone has been double-jabbed.

For another: even double-jabbed people can contract the virus, and be seriously ill as a result.

And for a third: people who clinically vulnerable still have to stay away from the unvaccinated - which is tantamount to saying they must continue isolating, because how are they supposed to know who is and isn’t jabbed? What nonsense.

Living with the virus means changing how we live

What “learning to live with the virus” really looks like is people keeping the app on their phones, and sticking to the rules for a long time to come.

Living with the virus means using an app to track where you go, and who you come into contact with.

Living with the virus means sometimes having to change your plans, cancel your holidays, or isolate at home with your kids.

Living with the virus means proactively being part of something bigger, thinking and behaving like a species, not a special case.

It’s annoying. It’s frustrating. It’s so inconvenient. I know. I hate it too.

But the virus won’t stop infecting people and it won’t stop mutating. Even if you’re not going to do your bit to live with it, it is learning how to live with us. It’s here, forever, and your great-grandchildren will still be living with it long after you’re gone.

So, I suggest the inconvenience of keeping the NHS app on your phone, and abiding by the instructions it gives you, is a minor inconvenience in the long term. It’s a pain in the neck, but that’s what “living with the virus” really means: pain, for all of us, for a long time to come. We all need to bare it.

Filed under: notes
(13 July 2021)