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by Andrew Learmonth
19 July 2021
Comment: Freedom Day could leave us fighting a new tomorrow war against the coronavirus

Comment: Freedom Day could leave us fighting a new tomorrow war against the coronavirus

In Chris Pratt’s new film, The Tomorrow War, some soldiers from 2052 travel back to the present day to warn us, the now people, that in the future the world is losing a war against some big, creepy, white human-eating creatures.

Incredibly, these future people deliver this warning at the final of next year’s World Cup, which, according to the film, will be between Brazil and Scotland. 

It’s typical that Steve Clarke is set to lead us to our first-ever final at a major tournament only for it to be abandoned because of a bloody intergalactic war at a point 30 years from now in which all Scottish people have already seemingly been wiped out. At least England got to lose the Euros on penalties.

The film itself isn’t great, but it requires little concentration, which as I slowly eased out of a bout of the coronavirus, was exactly the level I needed. 

It’s been two weeks since I was last able to taste or smell. I love coffee, but right now it tastes like the smell of a cigarette bin on fire. 

I got excited last week when a Fruit Pastille seemed to break through, but the moment was fleeting and now I’m back to only enjoying food because of its texture. 

All in all, I spent about 12 days in bed. 

During the infectious period, I was both swelteringly hot, and freezing cold, suffering chills whenever a bit of skin escaped the duvet. 

My headache was unrelenting, my legs ached, my armpits burned, the left side of my belly pounded. My glands were swollen, my throat was sore, my cough rattled like that of a 60-a-day 80-year-old smoker. 

What scared me most was that my breath kept falling short, as if my lungs had shrivelled. 

And I was exhausted, absolutely and utterly exhausted. 

I’m not sure how COVID got into the house. I’d been more than careful, followed all the rules on face masks and social distancing. I hadn’t been to the pub or a restaurant, I’d avoided crowded shops. My app was fully operational. 

My daughter showed symptoms first, but she was the only one in her class to do so, so I don’t think it came from the school (and once again I’d like to apologise to all the parents of kids in Mr P's P5/6 class for forcing your children to self-isolate for the first ten days of their summer holidays).

Thankfully, she threw the illness off in a couple of days, suffering no more than a cough and a lack of energy. 

My wee run-in with COVID has left me fretting about Freedom Day. News footage of clubbers rejoicing at midnight, and the thought of a maskless stranger sitting next to me on a train as I travel down to London next week is alarming. 

The virus hasn’t gone away.

Maybe it’ll all be okay. Maybe this is how we find out and prove that lockdown and face coverings and social distance have been an overreaction to this airborne pathogen.

However, I keep thinking about the words of Michael Baker, a professor of public health at the University of Otago and a member of the New Zealand ministry of health’s COVID-19 technical advisory group. Last week, he said: “We have always looked to the UK for leadership when it comes to scientific expertise, which is why it’s so remarkable that it is not following even basic public health principles.”

It’s been a month since my positive test. I’m much better, much more normal, but still frequently knackered. 

Compared to others, I got off lightly. That’s maybe because I’d already had my first jab. I did wonder as I struggled to breathe, how much worse it’d be if I didn’t have 0.5ml of Astra Zeneca pumping through my veins. While I may not be able to see Bruce Springsteen on Broadway, I never had to dial 111.

I’m also fairly fit, with no underlying health conditions. There are plenty of people who are not fit, whose health is precarious, who have not had a vaccine.

It does feel as if the UK Government is taking something of a gamble here. It’s hard not to feel more than a little anxious. We could be dealing with the consequences of this bet for some time to come.

Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - Boris Johnson says independence referendum 'not on his agenda'

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