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Social responsibility, not personal responsibility

The government is telling everyone that it's a matter of personal responsibility to decide whether to wear a face mask or social distance or isolate if you're in contact with a positive covid case. This message is confusing at best; and at worst is negligent and dangerous. Health ministers are saying on TV that they will no longer CHOOSE to wear face masks! They are saying that it's all about personal choice. But wearing a face mask is not actually about making a decision for yourself, it's about making a choice for the people around you. Face masks do very little to protect the wearer, they protect everyone else in case you have covid. Therefore it is not a matter of personal responsibility, it is an issue of social responsibility, a responsibility to protect other people. But that's not the message we're being given. Let's think about what it would mean if we made other situations a matter of "personal responsibility". Driving at High Speed. "Feel free to choose what speed you drive at, it's a matter of personal responsibility." You drive a modern car with top quality safety systems and good brakes; you've done some track days and you like the freedom of driving fast. But… suddenly there's someone overtaking a lorry, they're going a lot slower than you. You can't slow down and you go into the back of their car. Your car is well built and the air bags deploy; you are left with sore ribs and feeling shocked but you're ok. The car you hit is a bit older, with less ability to withstand the accident and sadly the driver and passenger end up in hospital critically ill. This is what could happen if we made speed limits a matter of personal responsibility. Does this sound ok? I really hope you are as shocked by this possibility as I am. Can you imagine having to live the rest of your life knowing you have caused severe injuries and possibly death? This is exactly what might happen if you choose not to wear a face mask and are asymptomatic with covid. You could pass it to someone else who is vulnerable and ends up in hospital. Or you pass it to someone else who is then asymptomatic and gives it to their vulnerable relative who ends up severely ill. Or you pass it to a teenager who isn't very ill with covid but develops long covid and is no longer able to live the life they had planned. This is why we don't need to take personal responsibility; we need to take social responsibility. And yes, I know the messaging has been that vaccinations has broken the link between the virus and hospitalisations; but sadly that's not the full picture. Yes the link has been weakened, but actually the most vulnerable people in the country (me included) won't have responded as well to the vaccine as most people and are still at risk of developing more severe illness from the Delta strain of covid than you might. And finally…. No covid is not the same as flu; it's easier to spread and it effects much more of the body than flu. I know, I've had flu numerous times and pneumonia; they are nothing like covid! So please, let's take social responsibility and do what we can to keep everyone safe.


I created the mandala whilst wondering why even our Government ministers don't understand why we all need to protect each other. And here's a haiku:

Interweaving lives My decisions impact you In it together

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