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Lockdown Giesecke Lockdowns Quarantines
|The Seven Rules||4|
|In The UK||4|
|Have To Wear||3|
|A Cautionary Tale||3|
|All The Time||3|
Hi there and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. Let’s talk about what’s happening at the moment in the UK and around the world, while you’re learning English through listening at the same time.
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So this week the children in the UK went back to school. There are various measures, various precautions being taken in schools because of the virus. For instance the children have to wear face masks when in the corridors. A mask M-A-S-K is a covering for your face and a corridor, C-O-R-R-I-D-O-R is a narrow passage way – a long, narrow room that you use to get from one room to another, to different parts of a building.
So children don’t have to wear masks in the classroom or outside, but they do have to wear masks in the corridors when going between lessons. There are no ‘hot dinners’ either – children have to take a packed lunch. A ‘packed lunch’ is a meal that you can carry in your bag. I guess it’s just too complicated to produce normal ‘school dinners’ without the risk of infection.
So we’re in a situation where we are trying to
return to normal life, but where ‘normal’ isn’t as it was before. I think it’s really important that children go back to school – they’ve missed enough of their education. And certainly they’ve spent enough time on their computers at home – it’s time to socialise again and very important for their development.
But we’re all in the business of ‘risk management’ – we’re having to manage risk all the time. We do this anyway in life, but the virus has made us much more aware of it. We can’t stay home, under lockdown forever. We have to go out and try and carry on with life as normal as much as possible. We have therefore to accept that there are risks associated with that. Without too much fuss and without too much anxiety, we just have to learn to manage it.
A photograph of man wearing face mask at airport. Used in a discussion about how to learn to speak English.
We actually take risks all the time – if you drive a car, you take a risk every time you go out. But for most people, these risks are acceptable and the benefits of being able to drive your car far outweigh the risks that come with it – so we don’t even think about it. For me, it’s the same with the virus. There are risks in going out, but the benefits outweigh the risks – if you’re sensible. And there are certain things I do miss doing – I think they’re still too risky – but I’ve managed to go abroad on holiday, see friends, go out, work more or less as normal. It feels like a sustainable situation. I know it’s not for everyone.
If you don't take risks, you'll have a wasted soul.
⭐ Drew Barrymore, Actress
So we’re all aware of what precautions, what measures to take to give us the best chance of staying safe. And there is a way of thinking that if enough of us get the virus, the virus will be less prevalent anyway. This is the so called ‘herd immunity’ idea – if enough people have the virus and recover, the virus will not be able to spread very easily. And that’s what’s happened with other viruses in the past. But governments don’t like to be seen as having this as their strategy, their plan. Even in Sweden, where arguably they haven’t locked down in the same way as other countries, they still stop short of saying that so called ‘herd immunity’ is a strategy.
Johan Giesecke is the epidemiologist behind Sweden’s policy during the pandemic – and he said early on that total lock down is not the answer. It’s interesting to see that he’s been promoted in the last few days to a senior role, advising within the World Health Organisation, the WHO. And that’s despite criticism over Sweden’s way of handling things so far. Perhaps there’s a shift in thinking – we can’t just stay in all the time, we can’t just stay in lockdown – we have to resume normal life. That’s for those of us who don’t have medical conditions. So Johan Giesecke is a person of influence perhaps – or going to be – in the World Health Organisation policies.
For most of us, it feels a bit safer out there – it feels normal again. But always there is what we call ‘a cautionary tale’. A ‘cautionary tale’ is a story that warns you. It’s like something your mother might tell you – to put you off doing something. ‘Oh you know what happened to so-and-so when they went horse riding – they fell off and broke their arm!’ - or something similar.
Well, just such a cautionary tale about the virus emerged this week from the state of Maine in the US. Apparently a pastor for a wedding ceremony flew, with some other members of his church, members of his congregation, flew on a plane 225 miles to a church for a wedding, despite the fact that there were investigations into the disease outbreak at his own church.
The service was held indoors with lots of people. And at one point apparently there was a choir, a group of people singing very close to one another at the front of the church. Well, so far there are 123 confirmed cases of the virus, which are believed to be connected with the wedding. One 83 year old woman has sadly died, Theresa Dentremont – but interesting that her 97 year old husband Frank got the virus too – but he recovered. Just thinking about the pastor and his decision - some people seem to just behave irresponsibly and people die as a result.
In the UK, we’re going with a policy of
local lockdown. My sister who lives in the north west of the UK hasn’t been able to invite people inside her house for several weeks now. We would normally visit her in the summer – I haven’t seen her since Christmas. But the local lockdown there is because the number of cases in the Greater Manchester area, parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire is much higher than the national average. So the UK government is going on the basis of statistics – how many cases per 100,000 people.
If it rises above a certain level, lockdown is reimposed locally. It’s happened in the city of Leicester in the UK as well. So hopefully this is a good way forward – not full lockdown, not full damage to the economy, but partial lockdowns as and when needed. Then of course, there’s the government strategy on quarantines and movements between the UK and other countries. I’m not going to comment on that here – there are so many different opinions on what is going on there – and the way it’s working, or not working. It’s the subject of much controversy!
But I suppose what I’m saying – it’s important for most of us to get out there, to try to continue life as normally as we can. And let’s be sensible, let’s not to take unnecessary risks. Stay safe!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.