And now?

Written by a resident of the village who wishes to remain anonymous.

So, lockdown is easing and the visitors are on their way. Maybe I am over reacting but there is one sort of visitor the arrival of whom I am really worried about. My WhatsApp and Messenger are full of it. Call me a cynic but why didn’t they get in touch when we were all battening down the hatches earlier in the year? Funny that they should wait until now – when they are actually permitted to travel!

The thing is, I am not sure that I really want to see them. Not for a drink; not for a coffee; certainly not for lunch! And I definitely don’t want them staying – how is that possible with social distancing in place. I realise that those who live in cities have had a really hard time during this crisis and they are desperate to get away. They have also taken greater risks than we have. They have had to. It has not been possible for them to exercise without braving the busy tow path or the crowded park. They have not had the luxury of shopping in local shops who have put simple and effective measures in place to protect them such as the ones that we have grown accustomed to.

They have been forced to break the rules because of the number of people that they live around and that has made them more cavalier than I have chosen to be. In some cases it seems to have given them a feeling that the rules are not for them.

I have seen pictures of their ‘socially distanced’ drinks parties on their Facebook pages and I know they don’t have the same regard for the measures that I have. In contrast I have enjoyed the quiet life – empty footpaths, socially distanced shopping in a place where most people are very eager to stick to the rules. So how do I cope with this influx of friends and family?

I am actually quite scared! Will they want to get too close to me? Will they expect to be invited into the house? Will they want to use my loo? Do they expect me to feed them?

Do I want them in my house?

The flip side of this is that I really don’t know if I am over-reacting? Is life actually back to normal except in this quiet, special place? Should I relax and welcome them or should this be the year when I tell them that St Mawes is actually not open for ‘free’ holidays to friends and family hoping to come down here and use the beaches once again?

One thought on “And now?

  1. It is really difficult to know the actual risk, but here are some simple sums based on the data in the media (and I am a lay person, rather than an expert, so I welcome correction):

    There are currently estimated to be fewer than 5 cases per 100,000 tested in hospitals and the wider community, in both the South West and most of London. Assuming there are 10 more asymptomatic or mild and undetected cases for every diagnosed case, there may be 50 cases per 100,000 of the population, or 1 case for every 2000 people. Given that St Mawes has a population of less than a thousand, and a case is likely to be infectious for perhaps up to two weeks, there is likely to be one person or another who is infectious in St Mawes half of the time. That person will infect you if they cough or sneeze near you, or touch surfaces that you subsequently touch in the next two days, so it is a pretty small risk in winter. People in touch with lots of the public are obviously much more at risk, and we owe them our gratitude. With a summer population perhaps 10x greater, there are likely to be perhaps 5 infectious cases wandering around at any one time. There may not be too much danger of being coughed, sneezed or heavily breathed on when outdoors, but there should still be lots of caution about touching surfaces in the shops, pubs, hotels and restaurants, and it is good to see the precautions that they are taking.

    What are the chances that a family of say 5 visiting my home are infectious (because if they are, I am likely to catch it)? It is likely that a family can be treated as if they are one or two people (those who go to work, go shopping, use public transport, go to school, whilst they others stay at home). Let’s assume it is two people actively risking infection, and the current incidence is 1 per 2000 people,

    ****** the risk that a visiting family will bring Covid to my home should be about 1 in a thousand *****

    and even then there is a good chance that I will not be seriously affected (unless I am elderly, obese, black African or South Asian, have serious underlying health conditions, etc). To set this in context, the risk of dying at some point in my life from a motor vehicle crash, or, if a woman, of being the victim of domestic violence at some time in the year, is about 1 in a hundred, or 10 times as high.


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