Opinion: How lockdown in Sheffield made us love the NHS, needles and new ways of meeting people

The announcement of lockdown two years ago was inevitable. Covid was spread when people met, so we couldn’t. It was also a step into the unknown, when we would reconnect with faithful friends and make new ones we never knew existed.

Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 1:48 pm

Lockdown made all of us love the NHS again. We all needed to be safe in the knowledge that the NHS would be there for us if the dreaded virus struck.

This time it was no help if you had private care, we all needed a National Health Service and the expertise that brings. Which is why we clapped for it, put thank you posters in our window and actually believed the politicians when they said we needed to protect the NHS.

We also needed to talk to to each other. We couldn’t meet physically, so we found a new virtual friend. Zoom. We Zoomed into each others kitchens, spare rooms or whatever else did for an office. And although it wasn’t perfect, it was reassuring to see everyone was trying to get on with things. If they couldn’t, Zoom could help with that too, via counselling or wellbeing sessions.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference at 10 Downing Street

But what we really wanted was a vaccine. Who knew people would queue round the block to have a needle in their arm. No more fainting or complaining, when the vaccine was found, we couldn’t get enough.

Quite why anyone would refuse still confuses me, but then so did those who didn’t follow the lockdown rules. We all wanted to protect the NHS, but some seemed oblivious. Which is why we got sick of the sight of the Prime Minister at press conferences spouting one thing and doing another.

We won’t miss those lectures, but we can reflect on communities pulling together, helping each other and most of us showing a collective responsibility I’m not sure many thought we have.

So it’s not really a happy two-year anniversary, but it is one we can toast if only to say goodbye and thanks for reminding us of how brilliant the NHS is, how much we like injections and what a sorry lot politicians are when it comes to the crunch.

A health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine
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