You ask the impossible — to live with Covid-19

maloki on 2022-01-20

You ask the impossible — to live with Covid-19

or: You want us all to die, but sooner or later we’re all disabled.

Disclaimer: This article has been written piece by piece over months. I’ve not been able to finish writing it because of my disabilities, but I need it to be heard. Any time I’m referring to the present, is the present of writing, so it will be a discombobulated mess. However, I think it’s important to keep it because it signifies the time it’s taken me to complete this piece of writing. Nothing changed, nothing ended, so the main theme is still highly relevant, even though the specific examples are probably out of the collective memory by now. But it doesn’t matter, I believe you’ll understand me anyways, if you want to.

Content Warnings: Depressive episodes. Capitalism. Ableism/ableist language. Death implied and otherwise.

When I told my partner today that I was going to finish writing this article “about how the government want us all dead” he thought I sounded crazy and I think I’m sounding kinda crazy. And I know it’s not the government per se, but the government are acting as lackeys for these capitalist shit-heads and it’s so internalized that capitalism is only way to live, the only way for Society to work. But still there’s enough capital in the world for us to make a Better World. There is enough food produced every single year to feed everyone on Earth, yet people go starving. We have produced enough vaccine to vaccinate everyone with two doses yet some people have got in their third doses and some haven’t even got on their first yet. And that doesn’t even have anything to do with the people who are hesitant to Vaccines. What I want to say is this: it’s a distribution problem, same as with the food situation. It is also a capitalism problem, which is a severe resource hogging problem. Let’s begin shall we:

The discombobulated introduction

The famous comorbidities, and the death toll. The mild symptoms, and the desire to go back to normal. The invisible many, who are blantantly ignored.

I am so angry and I’ve kept seething for what feels like weeks now, but it’s probably just a few days, or actually months. I’m just going to write it out, to get it out of my system, so it stops poisoning my well. As usual I’m not the only person saying this, and I am sure someone will talk much more eloquently about it than I am, yet, I need to add my part to the chorus, because the world fucking stinks right now and I hate it here. This isn’t the same as my other more personal mental health posts, it isn’t about that. Thought it may have some hints of it, please read CWs above if you didn’t on your way in.

It’s been so clear, since the start of the pandemic that everyone who’s not 150% able-bodied, and even the people who are and are working essential jobs, are expendable. We’re all fucking expendable. We aren’t people. We’re merely numbers on a sheet. And sometimes we’re a big percentage, and sometimes we’re a much smaller one, probably because a larger portion of us have already died off.

I’m even running out of energy to write this article about how they want us all dead, because it’s such a heavy topic and and I wanna do right by it, but I also wanna show my emotions and the emotions I share with the people around me. I want to be able to articulate everything and contextualize everything in such a way that is received by the people it’s for, but at the same time I don’t know who it’s for.

Is it for other people like me who are stuck at home and self-isolating, when everyone keeps going back to to normal or is it for the people who go back to normal and are not seeing us because we can’t do the same?

We become invisible. We can’t go out in protest of the lockdown at the time, or rather lack there of, because we have to keep self-isolating constantly, to stay safe, to stay alive. We Are The People Who are still masked at the store, if you even see us at the store.

Many of us will order grocery deliveries to be dropped off at our doors, with everyone still masked. But even with deliveries fewer and fewer are wearing their masks when they come delivering things we ordered even when we requested it. And none of the people packing it are wearing any masks. Yes, it’s true that covid-19 and it’s current variants do not significantly spread via these deliveries, but other diseases can. I think we underestimate how vulnerable people are. But it doesn’t matter, because we’re invisible. We don’t exist, because we’re invisible.

I guess that’s part of the problem, when the most vulnerable of us either already died, or we’re just not visible because other things stated above. I think it’s hard to put into words when you keep seeing all these people who are so angry about being forced to stay home or not being able to go to the pub. And realizing that these people are totally oblivious to all of us who are at the best of times often forced to stay home anyways, to stay safe. It’s frustrating to see people in places that you’ve thought had a lot of sensible people, going out and protesting having to wear a mask, protesting having to take The Vaccines to be able to work with clinically vulnerable people. It’s frustrating to to watch the doors open up just for the economy. I despise those words, “for the economy”. I hate that we live in this capitalist hellscape, where the economy is the most important thing. The economy won’t collapse, if it were we wouldn’t be “coming out of this pandemic” with billionaires being even more billionaires than they were before we started.

So here we are. Two years into this pandemic, and even with the new waves, and people who’ve refused to wear masks for years at this point, we’re just… I should have started with saying that I’m in the UK… Pretty much all bio-security measures are lifted, unless you go to a hospital. And this is a problem. But let’s start at the beginning, because there’s so much more here.

Where it all started

I remember the UK being late, very late to start their first lockdown. We were looking at the numbes from Italy as a forecast of what to expect. We had the blueprint, we could’ve listened and done better. Our family isolated, I was living with friends at the time. I was hit with so much anxiety and depression. We began figuring out how to deal with food, started stocking up a small amount (reasonable amount) before the shelves were being laid bare.

I remember standing in the kitchen, after a few days, maybe weeks, of just panic, feeling a sense of clarity. I leaned over the kitchen island, and talked with my housemate.

“I know that one of us are probably going to die before this is over, and I’m sad about it, but I’m also accepting it.”

I used this solace as a shield, as a way to protect myself from feeling too depressed, even though I was also feeling incredibly depressed through the year. Yet, the first year wasn’t nearly as bad as the 2nd year has been. And I’ve seen it on all my friends around me.

We’re all living through a trauma right now, and it’s been on going for 2 years. Sustained trauma can cause C-PTSD. So by the end of this we wont only have long-covid to worry about, but also all these traumatized people who may never be able to work again. But… as I’ve already mentioned, we’re all expendable.

If you’re not a millionaire, or heck, even a billionaire, you don’t really matter. You’re just a cog in the machine that prints more money for these people, while your friends, family and neighbours are dying around you. The proof is in the fucking pudding, mate.

Pandemic diaries

During the first year of the pandemic, I saw rays of hope here and there, before we even knew that there was going to be a vaccine on the horizon. I, the most naive one in pretty much all my social circles, was looking at a lot of the positive things I could see. The services delivering food parcels for the clinically vulnerable, was really protecting them. I thought it’d only grow stronger, that we’d strengthen our communities, and begin building our communal gardens, ready to weather the next storm. And sure, in some places that probably happened. And in ways it happened in my household. While we were a household with a lot of privilege, white privilege, economic privilege, having someone who was healthy enough (yet also had at least a few comorbidities himself) to help us with most of the grocery shopping, and picking up our meds.

I had a good safe place to hunker down. Even though it broke my heart to spend the very same months apart in 2020 from my partner, whom I’d moved to the UK with separated by 5 months in 2019. The pandemic was tearing us apart and I cried so much when he told me we couldn’t see each other for a few months, as the first lock down set in. The same 5 months, and more than 5 months, because when fall hit we still weren’t able to see each other before December. It just wasn’t safe.

I did the best I could to stay over the surface, kept treading water, and kept breathing, just survive one more day, and keep breathing. Take care of the people around me. Just survive one day at the time. Keep inching forward. There ought to be light in the tunnel soon.

Vaccines started to roll out. We still didn’t get them before Christmas. We did go queue up for our flu-shots though, it was more important than ever to get vaccinated, the NHS was already so burdened by the extra health cases, even after stripping down on “unnecessary” procedures. I watched people complain. I watched people despair. Just a little bit longer, I kept thinking to myself. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

“Maybe Tomorrow will be Better” in calligraphy, by WelshPixie

It kept being my mantra through the entire year.

In September (2020) I had started journaling, to stay alive. To find myself, to connect with myself, to know what I was thinking and to remember what I wanted to do, what my goals were. I kept writing pretty much every day until Christmas, filling an entire journal that I had intended to use for something else, but everything else felt hopeless. It allowed me to write again, even if it was just to remind myself what my goals were, what I had achieved today, and to forgive myself for not really getting quite to where I wanted. I had to practice compassion with myself, every single day if I was going to survive any longer.

Me and my partner had been waiting for our house for months. Another privilege, being able to buy a house when one of us was disabled but the other one just hunkered down and worked two jobs for the entire pandemic and all the lockdowns. That none of us in our immediate family got sick or died yet is a goddamn miracle. Thing is I’m white, but he’s not. He hasn’t talked about it, but I’m sure that there has been a toll on him and his entire family, with all the sinophobia (Anti-Chinese sentiment) flying around the place since the Covid-19 epidemic was declared a pandemic.

Being in the UK — where disabled people are disposable

I have a lot of mixed feelings about living here. About having been lucky enough to have moved here. If I had still been in Sweden I probably would neither have been as educated on some of the topics related to the pandemic as I turned into being. Being as vigilant against misinformation, and looking for the research based statements at every chance I got. Watching with dread how some of the things got handled in Sweden. Some of it may have turned out to be alright, to be cool, but some of it definitely wasn’t all that alright. So many people didn’t even get vaccinated, and here I got vaccinated very early. While I hated that I got vaccinated because of my BMI, I was also grateful.

Yet, I can simultaneously taste in the air just how disposable we are. The obvious influences from the US, with Boris Johnson and 45 being some kind of bizzaro-world twins across oceans.

The essential workers…

Where do we even begin? Very early in the pandemic we as a society seemed to recognize who the essential personnel was. We knew who needed to keep going to their physical place of work, to keep providing services for everyone else, so you’d expect us to follow up with proper support for them. But somehow, two years went by and we still didn’t. No increase in pay, no recognition that these work places are actually dangerous when a deadly pandemic ravages through the world. Because it was deadly.

These people leading organizations and companies that have been working non-stop through the lockdowns and pandemic and are still underpaid. That’s what we should be protesting about. We should be protesting about NHS not having enough people to cover their needs, but also give the workers the rest they need, and frankly speaking deserve after these two years in utter hell. But that’s not what people are protesting, people are protesting the fact that they can’t go have a drink with the pals. Like do you even hear yourself do you hear how stupid that sounds.

The world clearly showed that they weren’t that important, and that they were indeed expendable. We find that in the case of the UK, the NHS have been begging for more resources, for more measures from the government to keep lockdowns in place, to reduce the numbers, but for some reasons these are not the people they are listening to.

Go back to work, it’s for the economy you see. You need to keep shopping, for the economy.

The death-rolls of Boris Johnson — he’s taking you all with him

We commonly talk about some of the current hyper-capitalism being the dying breaths of capitalism, trying so hard to stay alive. Well, right now, we’re watching live as the UK Prime minister is doing his very best to fuck people over. In what I’m assuming is his hopes to be earning public opinion with the masses, as he’s falling from grace now that the cat’s about no 10’s parties is more than out of the bag.

He plays this role, this buffoon but unfortunately for us, it’s a very cleverly crafted mask, so you’ll laugh at him and think him preposterous rather than try and do something about it. It’s been reported on before.

So what makes me say this? Well basically over the past few days, and weeks and months at this point I guess, he keeps lifting the restrictions more and more, while also claiming that they want to help the NHS get rid of their backlog, the same NHS that have been begging for more restrictions for months, to reduce cases, and their workload. You see what I’m seeing?

It is becoming more and more clear that the pandemic is being ignored because of ideological reasons.

What makes me claim that they all want to kill us?

Capitalism is a death-cult, where profits are more important than people. People are profits, but the unprofitable ones can die, and we’ll still get rich. You noticed how the billionaires became EVEN MORE WEALTHY since the pandemic started, yet we have to leave our houses for the economy? Sounds like the economy is fine, if it wasn’t for all the wealth going into the hands of these already more wealthy than anyone can ever need.

Being a billionaire shouldn’t be able to happen in a sustainable society. Being a billionaire means having access to more money and wealth than any one person could ever need. Being a billionaire means you could pay off student debt for everyone in your country of choice. Being a billionaire can only happen if you’re constantly leeching profits from the workers below you, who keep being below minimum wage, needing multiple jobs, and food stamps (US-EN colloquialism for reasons).

What does wealth have to do with Covid, and wanting us dead?

The only way to keep up this capitalist bullshit is by suppressing us, we the people. It’s hard to talk about this in a world that so treasures the status quo that suppresses them. You love them, and kiss their feet as they have their heel on your neck. So when people point out how fucked up it all is to you, you think we’re “talking crazy.” Which makes it really hard to put all this into words, especially as a disabled person. I’m disabled by mental health issues, physical issues, and my inability to work.

And this isn’t even touching the racial aspect of capitalism. There’s so many intersections here.

For a lot of people who are working, they just keep their heads down in order to get through the day, to be able to pay rent, pay for food, and maybe enjoy themselves with a little something once in a while, or alternatively work another 2–3 jobs only to scrape by.

Then there’s us crips. We can’t be out on the streets, where your bootlickers are protesting. One, because they’d probably rip our masks off and breathe on us for the sheer fun of it, because they still don’t believe this pandemic is real.

We have rich people spouting nonsense, and continuing to get away with it and supported by huge corporations (looking at you <asshole name that I can’t even remember right now, oh now I remember> Joe Rogan and Spotify). I used to believe that Swedish people had good values, but I guess even a Swedish billionaire is still a billionaire at the end of the day, and don’t care for the actual welfare of people anymore.

Oxford Vaccine and Bill Gates

Oxford University surprised and pleased advocates of overhauling the vaccine business in April by promising to donate the rights to its promising coronavirus vaccine to any drugmaker. [n]

No the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was not primarily funded by private interests, but 97% was funded through public funds. And they were announcing that it was going to be open sourced, so it could be more easily produced and shared across the world.

Oxford University initially said any vaccine it developed would be open to qualified manufacturers to produce without paying royalties, and priced either at cost or at a small profit. However, by August 2020, reportedly at the urging of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others, the university decided to change course. It entered an exclusive licensing agreement with the British-Swedish drugmaker AstraZeneca.

A generous billionaire thought it’d be better to make profit off of the vaccine.

We need to end this

This can go on and on. But it keeps boiling down to the same thing: Profits over people. It never ends. It just keeps going and going, but we need to do something. I don’t know what. I don’t know how, because some of the most vulnerable of us are just disappearing from view, as long-covid and ME/CFS takes over after getting sick. Millions more Missing. Millions, have turned into even more millions, the Millions Missing campaign has had to be revived again, in the light of long-covid.

The people who are suffering the most from the lack of lockdown and safety measures are the people you won’t see on the street, because it’s not safe for us. We’ve been silently trying to do our part, share our knowledge on how to stay sane in extended isolation to help those more fortunate, but we aren’t receiving the same support in return. Instead we’re met with the never ending “my freedom”. Your so called freedom is risking the lives of so many others. Not only in your community but all over the world as you go traveling.

But the omicron variant is mild you proclaim, we don’t even need protection anymore. We have omicron, as a result of lack of measures, the more bodies get infected the more chances the virus has to mutate. Mutations can take many turns, it can also keep the transmisibility but kill more people again. Not to mention the health care systems pretty much on it’s knees everywhere. They are overwhelmed. Nurses and doctors are burning out because of this pandemic and there not being an end in sight. The more burn out, the less we’ll have, the more will burn out, and so on.

I want to provide some kind of hope, but I don’t think this is the article for that, so instead I hope you feel even just an inkling of all the rage I’ve felt through writing this, and through reading people’s experiences. I hope you, if you believe yourself to abled bodied, help us stand up, and fight this. You have energy we can’t afford to spend, and you have the ability to go out in the streets when we can’t. It’s horrible feeling like I have to make a call to action here.. so I’m going to leave you with this:

There’s no living with Covid for us. There’s only dying with covid. So please, stand up and shield us.