Today feels like the day that, for many, covid returned to Jersey.
Since the end of the summer, it has been steadily, insidiously, building, with the effect mainly focused on families juggling isolation after yet another school case or businesses trying to keep some cash coming in.
The warnings from Government have been getting ever more strident, from suggesting wearing masks, to advising, to telling and now to ordering. Still, the diehards die hard, and some will continue to resist as ego drowns out common sense.
From half-term holidays to Halloween, birthdays and then Bonfire Night parties, the island’s social calendar has lingered longer than lipstick on a discarded champagne flute. The story of the recent case surge has not been about just one party, causing as it did, 529 other people to isolate. Other parties also caused similar numbers.
They need to be investigated, and, wherever necessary, prosecutions brought, as the effect across the island has been immense.
Pictured: Ministers have given a clear warning of the possibility of hospital cases and deaths.
But the wider issue here is the ‘wake-up’ call. How can we not hear the obvious message that in a small, heavily inter-linked, community our individual actions affect everyone?
And that includes how we collectively react now to the selfish minority. This morning there are calls for ‘Lockdown Now!’, which is just a knee-jerk reaction, a bit like turning the car around 20 minutes into a family holiday because a bored child won’t be quiet in the back.
We already learnt this lesson back in March.
Lockdown has very serious consequences for many - it is easy if you live in happy family in a big house with a garden; it is a painful trial for those with broken relationships, or those alone, for those with mental health struggles or those with only one or two small rooms to call their own.
We are all together in this - surely that is the single, key, lesson of covid?
But we are on our last warning now, and the situation is bad. Case numbers have surged alarmingly, particularly the ones which are unexplained. Islanders are rightly livid about how a simple message – don’t go to indoor parties – is still bouncing on the surface. Ministers have warned that hospital cases, and deaths, are on their way.
Pictured: We should remember the examples of our 'lockdown heroes' - islanders who got creative and pulled together to deal with the pandemic.
We really can’t say we haven’t been warned.
Today, the number of active cases remains a very small percentage of the island’s population, and nowhere near the point at which other countries went into their lockdowns.
There is still the chance for us to avoid it, and for the sake of those who will really struggle when ‘locked-down’, then Ministers are right to allow that chance to play out for a while longer.
Otherwise, we will only have compounded the actions of the selfish few. There is a danger of getting swept up in righteous hysteria, of going too far too quickly, purely for the ephemeral pleasure of being able to say, “there, look what you made us do!”
Don’t reinforce their failure.