I will never forget the brutal realities of the pandemic – this England puts them aside. rod dacombe | Coronavirus News

I intentionally killed six people during the pandemic. I did this in their homes, in front of the Witnesses, in the adjoining rooms with their families.

When paramedics decide that all resuscitation options have been exhausted and a patient has died, they ask everyone involved if they agree to withhold CPR. The first time this happened to me, I didn’t react immediately. It never occurred to me that I would have to consciously choose whether to continue with patient treatment: I had just assumed that I would be told what to do. I was taken aback. But I said yes, I agreed.

I know I was doing CPR because the patients’ hearts could no longer work. That, in every clinical sense, they were already dead. but in an abstract way was His heart I was the last working part of them, and when I decided to stop, they died.

These are some of my strongest memories from the pandemic. And while much of the country has moved on from Covid, for the thousands of frontline workers involved in the pandemic response, things are not so easy. For many of us there is a disconnection between the ways in which the country is largely deciding to remember the pandemic and what it means for us.

We got a glimpse of it yesterday with the release of the Sky Atlantic series This England, one of the first attempts to dramatize the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and co-written by Michael Winterbottom, and starring Kenneth Branagh made heavily in a sympathetic portrayal of Boris Johnson, it focuses on the political conspiracy behind the pandemic response. It gives the overall impression that a nation is bravely coming together to defeat the virus, with any errors in policy (the chain includes a focus on PPE procurement and delays in the lockdown) unfortunate but understandable, Given the circumstances.

The narrative reflects recent political discourse, which has described the response to the pandemic as largely successful, built on a rapid vaccine rollout, a robust public health effort, and the heroism of health workers. The idea that politicians and key policy makers “made the right calls”, however, has a position largely at odds with the opinion of many of us who have firsthand experience of the reality of the COVID response. And indeed, public opinion is deeply divided on the merits of the approach adopted by the government. What matters is the way we shape our memory of the pandemic.

The works by historians on past epidemics have distinguished between the memories Knowledge – that is, the direct experience of the effects of the disease – and remembranceWidespread collective memory of the devastation.

The Spanish Flu of 1918, which was responsible for 50 to 100 million deaths, led to a great spread of literature and art based on direct experience. For a short time, it seemed that collective memory would be shaped by the voices of those who had truly experienced the worst of it. Among those voices was writer Katherine Anne Porter, who nearly died during the pandemic and was hospitalized for months. His yellow horse, yellow rider one of the most important works to come out of that period, and Involved Emotions that will be familiar to those who experienced the extent of COVID: “The road to death is a long march surrounded by all evil, and at every new terror the heart slowly fails, at every step the bones rebel , the mind sets its own bitter resistance and for what purpose? The obstacles sank one by one, and no covering of eyes closes the landscape of the disaster, nor the sight of the crimes committed there. ,

However, the long-term memory of that pandemic has been quite different. Few monuments to its dead have survived, and are largely overlooked in contemporary culture. Rather than face the reality of the Spanish flu, we have chosen to forget.

This is important because how we will remember the pandemic remains uncertain. This England hardly mentions Partygate’s humiliation, or Johnson’s subsequent downfall, which is very disturbing. The real problem, however, is that the reality of the pandemic response has been left in the wings. Care workers, nurses and ambulance workers appear to be passing on afterthoughts fitted around the “real” action taking place in the corridors of power. Where frontlines are shown, they are heavily filtered. Patients die peacefully, or are off camera. Tired doctors gaze into the distance at the end of their shifts. The result not only seems neat but completely detached from reality.

I’m not saying Winterbottom is disqualified from writing about these things because he doesn’t know what it’s like to break one’s ribs during chest compressions, or didn’t see the expression on family members’ faces Those who cry for help when none is possible. I would only note that without these perspectives, his story is very different from what you might hear from people who were on the frontlines of the pandemic. Here again the problem arises from the distinction between knowledge and remembrance. This England ultimately presents the winning story. But for those with direct, personal knowledge of the pandemic, remembering COVID-19 appropriately would mean facing grisly failure, arbitrary death and utter helplessness.

I no longer work regularly with the NHS. Neither did many of my colleagues of the time. For many frontline workers, the experience of the past few years has proved too exhausting, too painful to continue. It is tempting, as time goes on, to replace the reality of COVID-19 with a different, more comforting story that presents the past few years as a collective victory over the disease. But that was not the case at all.

  • Rod Dacombe NHS . spent the pandemic driving an ambulance for

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