In 2020 Care Homes have been turned into places of punishment and despair. The elderly deserve to see their families and loved ones. This can be done by listening to the experts who are calling for protection of the vulnerable. Instead fragile lives are ending early as people give up, stop eating, and die of despair and loneliness.
“Despite stringent lockdowns, COVID has spread in care homes leading to the avoidable deaths of hundreds of thousands of older people worldwide. Lockdown does not work as a strategy to protect the vulnerable.” Discussed further by Jay Bhattacharya, one of the world’s most eminent infectious disease epidemiologists, in It’s time for an alternative to lockdown.
Yesterday I heard English cartoonist Bob Moran speak on a podcast at some length. Earlier this year both of his grandmothers, around 90yo, died within a month of each other. Part of what he said:
“When you have lived more than half of your own life, these things, these moments, this time with your children become more precious than anything else, and certainly more precious than your own longevity.
So many of these elderly people we are supposed to be protecting or saving, would much rather be allowed to take the risk and just have that time with their families. It is totally barbaric.
Both my grandmothers were quite poorly and had been for some time. One of them was in a home quite near to where we live and we would go and visit her every week with my children because it was her favourite thing in the world, seeing her great grandchildren. It could well be the case that we gave her a bug and that’s what ended up killing her. She had very advanced cancer, so it’s likely that is what killed her. But I don’t regret a single visit to her. It doesn’t make me feel guilty that “what if we gave her an illness”. Because I know that the most precious thing to her at that point, was seeing her family.
This is what we’ve lost. All life is precious. As a result of that we need to do everything we can to protect it. But there is a difference between sanctity of life and quality of life. In various situations you have to make a judgement between those two things and where that line is varies, depending on the situation. By and large, over time, people have generally agreed on how that balance works. Until March of this year when we suddenly threw it out the window and turned it on its head.
On the “don’t kill granny” thing, a lot of people are under the impression that for the first time ever in our history, we are faced with a situation where when we leave the house in the morning, we might kill someone just by breathing out. But in fact, there has never been a time when you weren’t at risk of doing that when you left the house. More so in the past, I mean think about the types of diseases and plagues that were around for hundreds of years.
It comes down to personal responsibility. What is an individual’s obligation towards other members of society? How far should that extend? Everyone could infect someone else’s granny with a virus that they didn’t even know they were carrying. Most people haven’t been aware of that fact their whole lives, and it’s actually very important. Because if we were all told that at the age of five, or if there were little speakers on everyone’s front door that reminded them every time they left the house, people would go insane. We would have no society, we couldn’t function.
If you are out and about in society, you do have a certain obligation towards your fellow human beings in terms of keeping them safe. If you are driving a car, you don’t run over them; if you’re smoking a cigarette you don’t stand next to somebody with a pram. There are things that you are obliged to do. But one of the limits is that you are not responsible for infecting someone with an illness that you don’t know that you have, that may end up killing them. It’s incredibly dangerous and morally illiterate in my view, to make individual people this responsible for others”.
Below is the current completely intolerable plight of one UK family. And a selection of Moran’s really clever cartoons from https://www.bobmoran.co.uk/.