In January of 1865, the American House passed the Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. It states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any other place subject to their jurisdiction.” The amendment ended slavery in the USA but left one gap that became easily exploitable: prisons.
In late March 2020, Madonna posted a video on Instagram, in which she proclaimed COVID-19 as “the great equaliser”. It is now undisputed that this statement was incredibly flawed and has since been removed. Evidence is continuously emerging that in the UK, people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are more likely to contract COVID-19 and subsequently die, than their white British counterparts. A review, entitled ‘Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19’, published by Public Health England earlier this month, shows that when compared to previous years, all cause mortality during the period between 21st March to 1st May 2020, “was almost 4 times higher among Black males”. By contrast, the same figure among white males was less than two times higher. Something is very wrong. Systemic racism penetrates all aspects of society and the NHS is not exempt from this.
‘We’ll always be together, however far it seems
We’ll always be together, together in electric dreams’
‘Together in Electric Dreams’, Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder
Whenever people have asked me how I’m doing in lockdown, my reply has been something along the lines of ‘fine, but I miss my friends’. On the whole, I am indeed fine, and very grateful for the fact that lockdown has not impacted me too harshly because my parents are able to work and I am able to continue with my A Level courses from home. However, I do feel as though I am missing out. (FOMO never sleeps, even though I am aware that everyone is MO!)
After what seems like an eternity in lockdown, it seems a relief that life finally seems to be returning to what we may have classed as normal; where words such as ‘social distancing’ and ‘herd immunity’ weren’t even in our vocabularies. But as the restrictions are beginning to be eased in an attempt to prevent presumably what will be the most crippling economic recession since the Great Depression, the unspoken question hangs in the air – is it too soon?
“In memory of all those we have lost, and in anticipation of all that we shall gain”