Covid killed so many of us – now the UK government fears our tears and rage | Michael Rosen | The Guardian

I came out of my dose of Covid and my time in intensive care not being able to stand up or walk, with one eye hardly seeing and one ear hardly hearing. Micro-bleeds in my brain have permanently knocked out the respective optic and auditory nerves. I readily admit that I look at the comments by Johnson and those scientists and feel aggrieved. And I’m not even the loved one of someone who died in that time. I’m not a health worker who lost a colleague at the very moment the PPE was insufficient or poor. On one occasion the PPE that came into my ward was secondhand and one piece had blood on it (as testified by the consultant).

I have been in meetings with people in this situation and many feel desolate, betrayed and abandoned. All the more so, when they hear people telling us that it was a “scamdemic” or that we had underlying health problems or that we were so old we were going to cop it soon anyway. One famous journalist reassured me that she knew I had been ill, “but,” she added, “you are 74”. That “but” is doing a lot of work. What’s “but” about being 74? Are my days less valid than her days, I asked myself. What kind of social contract do we have with each other in which I can be dispensable because I’m 74?

Meanwhile, this great invention, the NHS, saved my life, taught me how to walk, helped me help myself get fit, through the gloriously cooperative labours, skills, knowledge and experience of hundreds of people, many from (or with origins in) many different parts of the world. When I meet any of the nurses, doctors, physios or occupational therapists who looked after me, I am moved to tears.

To my mind, they represent the best of us; togetherness in the face of danger and loss. And, take it from me, they have suffered and are still suffering. Some have been unable to go back to the wards. When I signed permission for me to be put into induced sleep, I was told I had a 50:50 chance of waking up. It turned out to be a slightly better ratio: 58% of us survived; 42% died. That’s a lot of death for young health workers to cope with.

Actually, 200,000 is a lot of death for all of us to cope with. I wait – and keep waiting – for that national moment, that service in St Paul’s, that official gathering where we can all reflect at the same time on what has happened to us. Because the deaths have happened to us as individuals – and not in a public shared way, in some horrific act of war or genocide – it has become easier to tidy it away. The burden of the national and social trauma is being carried by us in our families and personal relationships. It’s almost as if this government that went into the pandemic mocking the public health response is afraid of our tears and our rage.

Source: Covid killed so many of us – now the UK government fears our tears and rage | Michael Rosen | The Guardian