If 2020 has taught us one thing (well, it’s taught us many… ), it’s that there’s not much point in making plans. Because coronavirus, the threat of lockdown and the potential for self-isolation are always waiting just around the corner to ruin everything.
I think a lot of us has had got a bit complacent, hadn’t we? Speaking personally, I was still following the rules that were there, and I think many people were. But I’d stopped worrying. The Covid-19 death rates, although still extremely sad, were down into low double figures and the infection rates were right down too.
Life was getting back to normal!
But of course it wasn’t. Not really.
The pubs reopened at the start of the July. Lots of us enjoyed selflessly eating half price meals during August for Eat Out to Help Out and the kids were finally back at school.
My son had even managed a handful of athletics competitions. He’d got a new long jump PB, then equalled it a couple of weeks later. He had one more competition booked to hopefully break the club record, which was just 3cm away and which he would definitely have broken in a ‘normal’ year with a normal number of competitions.
My daughter was also booked into one of the competitions. But she had a cold. Quite a bad cold. But definitely a cold. No temperature and she was very sneezy and bunged up. Sneezy and bunged up are not Covid-19 symptoms. Credit to her school, when she needed a day off for the bad cold they didn’t insist she had a coronavirus test. A huge proportion of her year group had the same cold and nearly all of them had a day off for it. (So the cold spread despite masks, hand sanitiser, one-way systems, year group bubbles, staggered break times etc etc.)
My son was very worried about the cold. If my daughter turned up to the competition with the cold, she could be turned away. And, as her brother, he could be turned away too. So we took the difficult decision that my daughter shouldn’t compete. Because, when there’s a global pandemic, perception is everything. You can’t be seen to be ill.
Even if it’s not coronavirus.
But of course the worry didn’t stop there. Two of my son’s friends had coronavirus tests. If they’d both tested positive, their entire year group would have been sent home for two weeks. If one of them had tested positive, their close associates would have been sent home for two weeks – including my son.
Elsewhere, my eldest’s best friend had also had a Covid test.
We’re in an area where the figures are low, but it felt like the threat of coronavirus was everywhere.
All my son wanted was for his friends to test negative and for him to avoid self-isolation for a few more days so he could do his final competition of the year.
In the meantime, the government announced further tightening of the restrictions. There was a return to working at home, even more mask wearing and the pubs and restaurants would close at 10pm.
So, of course, the inevitable happened. The athletics competition was cancelled. It had strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place, and sport is currently allowed. But no doubt the organisers felt they couldn’t take the risk and got cold feet.
So while my son could go to the pub with us, he couldn’t compete in a socially distanced outdoor athletics competition. He didn’t have to worry any more about who tested positive and whether he needed to go into self-isolation. (At least from the point of view of his athletics competition, obviously he would and should worry for other reasons.)
Because if 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s that there’s not much point in making plans. Coronavirus, the threat of lockdown and the potential for self-isolation are always waiting just around the corner to ruin everything.