Virus has revealed the very best and worst of us 

Painted pebbles showing support for the NHS and keyworkers, and containing positive messages, which have been left by members of the public on Avon beach in Christchurch, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Jewish News)
Painted pebbles showing support for the NHS and keyworkers, and containing positive messages, which have been left by members of the public on Avon beach in Christchurch, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (Jewish News)

Two months into the lockdown, my lifestyle has changed dramatically. I no longer freely leave the house with a jacket. It feels like being in some sort of horror movie. I no longer shop at my local supermarket or use the tube or bus services for essential travel. I am now equipped with some gloves, sanitiser and face mask. It might seem strange but it’s what has to be done for health protection.

As a Black Briton Covid 19 has changed my world. Latest statistics published last week revealed black men in particular in the UK are four times likely to obtain the deadly virus.  That’s a scary statistic.

My family are Ghanaian so to be told I am more likely to get it is frightening. Sadly we have had many casualties UK rapper TY and former Mercury Prize winner sadly passed away to Covid last week.

It’s not just within the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, Coronavirus is also affecting my Jewish brothers and sisters as many sadly lose their lives.

So far over 400 people from the Jewish community have died from Covid 19. The board of deputies of British Jews suggest from recent figures complied more than 1% of all coronavirus deaths are Jewish.

When the lockdown was announced by the government a good Jewish friend of mine mentioned on Facebook her dad was suffering from cancer and she was terrified.

I managed to reassure her that everything was going to be ok.

He is in the vulnerable group and currently self isolating. It’s every families fear to ensure their loved ones remain healthy, not to have any contact with the virus and also not to end up in hospital.

The psychological impact from the pandemic is immense.

In both BAME and Jewish communities when a loved one sadly passes away it’s the norm to mourn and grief widely as a community with family and close friends. Due to restrictions on place only a limited amount of people are currently allowed to attend a funeral. Also many families are self isolating or unable to travel. For any family this is heartbreaking as they cannot say goodbye to a loved one in a dignified manner.

Many BAME campaigners called for an enquiry to find out why so many people from the community are dying from this deadly disease. That is currently being conducted. This should also be extended to the Jewish community to find why 1% of all Coronavirus deaths are Jewish related.

Questions should be asked as to why this is happening.

We may never get direct answers but we must ensure our loved ones and those in the community are aware of the risks to prevent further deaths.

It’s a disaster that is taking away loved ones away from us and crippling our communities.

Yet this has not deterred 50% of the community from staying at home and distancing themselves from the community.

The Prime Minister announced plans in his lockdown statement last week to lift some restrictions but that might make things worse especially those who are anxious. Boris Johnson urged people who can’t work from home to get back to work on Wednesday. It seemed like mixed messages to many who question whether the new measures are designed to protect us from getting the virus or the economy.

The foreign secretary Dominic Raab urged people to mindful and use common sense. That might be problematic as when I pop out for my daily walks I have seen no form of social distancing, quite the opposite it seems it’s business as usual.

What was alarming I saw a group of friends  congregating outside a building talking to each other. They clearly were not flatmates and had travelled to see their friends defying government advice. There are others who are also defying the ban, meeting up with friends having picnics and under the radar house parties.

It’s sad to say some people simply don’t care, they have a lax attitude about the pandemic.

As long as it doesn’t impact them why should they bother to observe lockdown measures?

Do they realise they could be contributing towards the second wave of deaths?

Lots of questions will be asked once we have found a vaccine as to why did things go so wrong? Other countries have got it right in some cases their mortality rates is not as high as the UK.

In some parts of Africa such as Gambia and Senegal the numbers are far less than in the UK and Europe. Critics have said the government should have acted sooner to restrict movement, increase testing and opt for a lockdown. Regardless of what measures should have been overlooked introduced the government trusted people to respect their judgement on the measures put in place.

Many have said the steps taken were done cautiously not as stringent as Spain or Italy with army invention. We shouldn’t be critical of the police as they are limited in what they can do due to resources.

If the army were drafted in would it make any difference? Martial law may not be the dynamic way to solve this crisis but something needs to be done to impose stricter measures towards those who have become rebellious. But not everyone has defied the advice and rules in place, the majority of people have observed the lockdown and should be commended for doing so. But for those who rebelled does this outline who were as a nation?

As Brits we are known to come together and champion as we did during the war but the pandemic has divided us. It has made some of us become extremely selfish, ignorant and unwilling to comply.

We may have always had some of those traits and it’s taken a pandemic to expose our inner thoughts and whether we truly value life and respect for our neighbours. We need to revert to being a more understanding and caring nation.

Of course we can we just need to listen and adhere to rules out in place.

Covid is not a football match or demonstration.

We can’t rebel against it.

Covid has no compassion, no heart – it’s a destructive virus.

We must come together and fight the virus in order to preserve humanity and civilisation.

About the Author
Edward Adoo is a BBC broadcaster, voice over artist, DJ and writer