Sidenote: these are only my own opinions, thoughts, and conclusions of the things I have felt, seen, read, or heard. I am not a medical or political expert. I am just a woman trying to understand the world of chaos around me. I might be right, I might be wrong and I might change my mind in the future. It’s great if you agree with my thoughts. And it’s great if you don’t and have your own opinion.
The last three years have been hectic. Wow, really, three years with Covid?! Seems really unreal. Time has always flown but this is something else. This virus has changed the whole world. Tore us all apart colleagues, friends and even families. No one could be sure how it works, yet everyone was sure their belief was right. Not much is changed. People are still divided and sticking to their truths, even to the ones proven wrong.
It was surprising how quickly spooky stories from the news turned into reality and started to affect everyday life. Our family first hit was that everything was shut down right before the kids’ birthday. It was hard to see that disappointment and try to explain why.
Everyone was annoyed and scared of other people. Some people were extremely bothered that pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, dinners, and spas got closed by the government. I even heard some say that it’s impossible to live if they can’t eat lunch out. Which seemed egoistic since people were battling this virus in a life or death match. People were dying and all they cared about was they can’t go to parties or restaurants.
I have never been really outgoing and have preferred simple homemade food or just junk food (who doesn’t?) – so closing restaurants and transforming most places for take-out/delivery service really didn’t bother me that much. Of course, it all fell on the time I was working two jobs and I barely found time to sleep. So I really couldn’t relate to this problem. Humanly I understood that workers in these businesses lost their jobs and incomes. But these aren’t essential needs for humans.
The hated masks
Suddenly there was a strong recommendation to wear a mask in public places. Only a recommendation at first, but it was enough. The anti-maskers raised their head and voices. Stating that masks are dangerous, that they can’t breathe, that it’s in violation of human rights, and hundred more reasons.
Everything went full-on crazy when masks were made mandatory. The worst ones were people yelling at cashiers and security officers who reminded them to put a mask on. Yelling they can’t because they can’t breathe with it. Yelling that wearing mask for 10-20 minutes for shopping is impossible. Yelling that to the people who had to wear a mask 8-10 hours a day. Every single work day. People who had no control over the matter and just following orders.
Most people, it was required to use them only in stores, and public transportations – places where a lot of people go by. Mostly under an hour, if not even less. E-shopping development skyrocketed – so within a few months in most places you didn’t have to go to the store – just order online all groceries and even medications.
I was working in a store part-time and had to wear a mask. For hours, long shifts were 10 hours, with a few small breaks. So I truly don’t understand the fight. And if someone truly is so fragile – they are unable to breathe, is it really wise for them to hang out in shopping malls in the middle of a pandemic?
Final blow – vaccines
In the last few years before all this were made huge efforts to make people know their rights regarding their medical conditions. Doctors weren’t even allowed to add diagnoses to sick leave papers – it’s personal and sensitive information and only up to an employee to share or not to share.
Since society wasn’t torn apart enough – vaccines came gave a boost. It was supposed to be each person’s volunteer choice. But the division began – as soon as people in the power saw that interest in this newly developed vaccine was low. Let’s give some perks – the ones who take it – can be free. No masks. They can go to restaurants, spas, clubs, and travel. But it still didn’t work. So let’s take a step forward – let’s make it mandatory in certain fields.
In a few weeks, they made changes which made in some fields mandatory to ask about vaccination. And rules, when employe must be vaccinated – if not, they had to be let go. But still, it’s not mandatory. And then came the press conferences one by one stating that responsible citizens will vaccinate. If you care about your relatives – grandmothers and grandfathers – you will vaccinate. If you don’t get vaccinated – you don’t care. You are to blame for this thing not ending.
I am not against vaccines, but I do believe it should be every human personal decision and it doesn’t matter why someone chooses to do it or not to do it. It is their right. Somewhere along the way talks started that not vaccinated people should not receive medical help. That they don’t have the right to be treated if they don’t vaccinate. That they put themselves in threat knowingly and willingly. But according to this logic – we shouldn’t treat drug addicts when they overdose, drunk people after an accident, or overweight people? Can’t we argue in each and several more cases like these, that they are to blame for their health problems? Where do we draw the line?
Never ending fight
People picked a side. Argued. Vocalized their beliefs – pro and anti. Then came the acquisition that people who won’t vaccinate are paranoid, stupid, and dangerous, and they are at fault for the virus is spreading. At the same time not vaccinated people were banned from events, travel, or had to test themselves at regular paces. Prove they are healthy. Vaccinated people had to only show the code and had a free pass everywhere. This code was considered proof of health. But not vaccinated were spreading, the ones who weren’t allowed to anywhere without proving they are healthy?
And one-day politicians started talking about how the country is torn and citizens blame each other. And we need to become united once again. The same ones who started all of this. I still listen to their statements with smiles – at one moment they are talking about being united. Second-moment dividing people apart. And not even realizing it. How short is their memory really or is it some special skill?
What changed for me?
There are certain events in a year when it’s been a custom for me to visit my grandmother or mother, without notice. Since they know on these days people do visit. Birthdays, mothers day…
But now I don’t dare. They belong to the risk group by age. I am at risk – working in an open office, where clients come and go. Attending school. At least I got one less risk factor since I don’t work at the store anymore. So before visits I always call – are they healthy and in strong health, not overworked or over stressed and therefore with a weaker immune system at the moment. I rethink every contact I have had in the last few days. And my own health.
I am not afraid of catching it, though it was tough and nasty for me. I am afraid to spread it without knowing. And it makes me furious when people travel around, go from party to party and never stop for a moment to think and test themselves. I am almost allergic to the sentence “it’s just an allergy” ***
I get that party and travel may be important. But when you travel through crowded airplanes or ships, could you at least try to be safe? And it’s now proven for some time that vaccination does not make people immune to it. It only gives hope of having it with milder symptoms. Oh, the worst breed of people are the ones, that take a test – get positive and don’t say a word and keep on the usual life of visiting, interacting, partying.
Will it turn to normal?
Whatever normal means – I don’t believe the world will ever be the same again as in 2018. It’s pretty clear Covid came to stay and we just have to learn to live and cope. Probably in a few years, it will lose its deathly grip and becomes just another flu-like disease. We can hope.
We had hard strikes and losses, but I do believe something good came along with it also. Lockdowns made a lot more companies realize that work can be done outside of the office. That employee can be trusted out of sight of bosses. I also believe that it has been undisguised workers which have been slacking or taking advantage of co-workers to maintain their tasks.
It has given several businesses a boost – e-shopping has spread wider than ever. And at least in Estonia – I can’t think of any item that can’t be bought online. From fresh fruits, hot meals, and construction materials to prescription medication. And you can get them delivered.
Important and unreplaceable – health
Nowadays every event planner has to consider health risks and it has already widened from Covid to all possibly contagious things. People are called to be more responsible and stay home with symptoms. Even employers who usually demanded everyone to work as long as they could stand up – encourage to take a sick day or two in hopes employees get better and won’t get really sick. In every commercial, we are reminded not to come, if sick or with symptoms. The rules of reimbursements have been adapted.
Overall health has become important. For individuals and society. Not only physical but also mental health. Lockdowns and quarantines have amplified all those problems, which were kept secret. Topics too hard to talk about and understand were left unsaid for so long and kept the illusion that mental health issues are rare. I am glad this bubble is burst because it means a lot more people can get help or recognize they need help in the first place after hearing about someone feeling the same feelings and did get help.
***I do understand that there are people with real severe allergies. And I don’t mean them. I mean people who hide behind this line because they just don’t care about anyone else. If in the last 10 years a person has been a fully grown adult without any problems and now you have it after every party or trip? Sorry, I don’t believe it. One told me he has a pollen allergy – in January – not a single thing bloom or even grows in Estonia. In January. Everything is covered in snow or ice.
How has this ruthless beast named Covid affected you? Changed you or your world?
Do we have hope and for what?