By Niamh Casey
I think it is fair to say that the majority of the population is being extremely cautious and adhering to restrictions. Everyone with common sense knows what the situation is and why we have to isolate ourselves from each other, and if you don’t want to listen to what the politicians have to say, just listen to the medical professionals, people whose entire job and purpose is to keep people safe and healthy. How many times do they have to reiterate that this is a global pandemic?
The guidelines that they have set out have so far proven extremely effective, we are down from thousands of cases a day to about 500 on average. Combining the daily number of cases and the, albeit slow, rollout rate of the vaccines is a great indication as to what stage we are at and how much longer we all will have to remain in lockdown. Everyone in the country is watching and waiting for good news on that front. National scale quarantining has been going on and off for just over a year now, and we are all looking forward to the day where we will exit our last one. It is that steadily growing anticipation that makes it extremely frustrating when something happens that may push that date back, especially if it’s something foolish like large gatherings of people for protests over the current unavoidable circumstances.
There is no sense in trying to justify the actions of anti-lockdown protesters. Their actions are some of the most selfish and ignorant that this country has seen in a long time. They are taking action by calling for an end to a highly contagious man-spread virus, by doing the exact thing that makes cases skyrocket by gathering in large groups. Immediately any point they are trying to make is invalid, not that there was much rational thought made in the first place, as their frustrations are nothing unique to them. They are shared by everyone all over the country! Everybody has been in lockdown for a year now, many of whom are out of work or have businesses that are suffering, and all of us are feeling the effects of having not seen friends and family for such an extended period of time, and yet we can all manage to do the sensible thing and stay home. We have all been in lockdown for the same amount of time, all going through the same mental challenges that have come with managing and coping with the ‘new normal’. The communal effort is something that gives us all hope, as even though we’re all doing it individually there is a sense of unity in the fact that we were all doing it for one cause, and that is so that we may keep at-risk people safe and so that we can all exit lockdown as soon as possible, hopefully for good this time. That spirit, however, is severely dampened when large groups of people decide to air their frustrations by doing the exact thing that will only make the process last longer.
The protests, which first took place in Dublin, and later in Cork city, are examples of adults throwing temper tantrums over things they think the government is forcing them to do, and that they can do nothing about. When in fact you can do something about the current circumstances, you can stay home. Any measures put in place by government officials, now or in the future, are made with public safety and health in mind. Despite what the protestors may think, any extensions made to the current lockdown will be based purely on what the daily case figures are, which will only remain at the current number if people continue to gather for protests. Their actions are just as inconsiderate as any students who decide to gather for parties, and the same thing will happen after the protests that happened after any other illegal mass gatherings, case numbers will rise. The higher the cases the longer the lockdown is extended for, and in the end nobody is happy. So do everybody a favour; stay safe and stay home.