By the time you are reading this, we will be well into our second lockdown. Among others more qualified to comment on such matters, I have written on the potentially damaging effects a second lockdown might have on healthcare provision, mental health, smaller businesses and society in general. In the coming weeks, pharmacists will begin to see the knock-on effects of all of this at the counter.
People are already asking themselves if these new measures, which are among the most restrictive in Europe, are worth the trade-off. To be clear, my sincere sympathies go to the families of all those who have passed away, have become ill or have had a friend or family member affected by Covid-19, or have had the symptoms of a pre-existing condition exacerbated by the virus.
But over the past weeks, I have spoken with healthcare professionals who have outlined the disastrous effect a new, long lockdown would have on service provision, waiting lists and missed diagnoses, to name just a few. But understandably, few are they who will go on record with a counter-narrative that seems callous or contradicts popular and official opinion.
The first lockdown was hard on everybody, but this one will be a totally different beast. The days grow shorter, the weather gets colder, frustration mounts and small businesses go to the wall, while massive wealth is transferred in an upward direction to the likes of Amazon, FedEx, Netflix et al. It’s all very well encouraging people to ‘shop local’ and support community businesses, but that’s a bit pointless if there are no local businesses left to patronise.
At least pharmacists are more prepared this time and indeed, were at the forefront in being one of the professions to react most swiftly when this all kicked-off. No sport, no handshakes, no hugs, no gyms, no family gatherings, no pubs, no leisure centres, no cinema, no workplace interaction, no concerts or plays, no face-to-face counselling. You will be dealing with the effects of all of this at the counter and I wish you well in the weeks ahead. Lockdown 2 is a dangerous societal and healthcare gamble and non-Covid-related lives will certainly be lost as a result. I hope the gamble pays off.