by Colin Campbell
A PUPIL at a Nairn primary school was found to have caught the Omicron variant.
Omicron! Red alert. Code Black, Purple or Orange. It’s a wonder there wasn’t a total lockdown within a 16-mile radius.
I found out about this last week a couple of days before it was publicised anywhere else, because I got an email about it from a woman with a child at the school, a former newspaper colleague, who I was due to meet for coffee.
I didn’t rush to adorn the website with the shock news. That would have gone against our belief amid all the panic, paranoia and scaremongering fuelled by lockdown enthusiasts, with confused, divided scientific opinion on the sidelines, that the vaccine will prove as effective against this new variant as its predecessors, and a month from now not much more will be heard about it.
However a follow-up email from my former colleague was more of a jolt.
She said her family have had to self isolate four times since August.
Four times? In the past five months?
They’re just following the rules. But apart from the disruption to their personal lives, how many days for children off school and parents away from the workplace does that amount to? Even allowing for some people being able to work, or partly work from home.
If this is repeated on a regular basis for many people how are firms and organisations able to cope? Things may look and feel back to normal but obviously in many ways they’re nowhere near it.
And is it all really so desperately necessary?
A couple of months I visited a young family with a child who’d been sent home from her Inverness primary school after one of the kids in her class had tested positive for the virus.
We were sitting there chatting about it, with the child in the room. Some may think it irresponsible, and personally I couldn’t care much if they do, but it never actually occurred to me, or the other two adults present, that I shouldn’t be there at all.
A year ago I obviously wouldn’t have been allowed into the house, or gone there at all. But that was in a totally different time. Since then we’d all been double vaccinated, so what was there to worry about?
Now we’ve had the booster as well. And I know even if you are vaccinated there’s a very small chance that you can catch the virus and pass it on. But the chances of that happening are very remote indeed. And the chances of the person you may pass it on to then suffering serious illness are close to non-existent.
When this week began there were only 20 people suffering from covid in hospitals across the entire Highlands. These numbers – the ones that really matter – are FALLING on a daily basis. Three weeks ago they hit a high of 36, which in itself is nowhere near “overwhelming”. Since then they have declined steadily. Now they are close to half that. And no one has been in intensive care for months.
Inverness news and views will continue to carry these official Scottish Government figures, which for some baffling reason you won’t read anywhere else. Amid all the fear, dread, and scaremongering is good news on covid banned?
But back to the family currently in self-isolation yet again.
The faintest, remotest trace of contact with anyone with the virus and you’ll have to self isolate. Except it depends what job you’re doing and how you’re getting paid, and there’s absolutely no doubt these self isolation rules are being broken all over the place by people in jobs who need to actually be in their place of work to earn.
If I was in that situation I’d self isolate for as long as it took me to wash my hands and change my shirt and then I’d head into work as normal.
Just 20 people in Highland hospitals with covid out of a total population of more than 200,000. No matter, it still led to my former colleague and her family again having to self isolate for days on end for the fourth time since August.
That all adds up to a gross overreaction bordering on madness. How long can it go on?