Last Tuesday, NHS England reported zero daily Covid-19 deaths for the first time since the first reported death in March 2020. This marks a year of success in 2021 with thousands of working class nurses working tirelessly to roll out the vaccination programme in England.
Likewise, the left wing Labour government in the Senedd in Wales has seen the nation leading the world in vaccinations with nearly 85% of Welsh adults receiving at least one jab against the virus.
Just 15 days from now PM Boris Johnson plans to ease most of the social distancing legislation in place, which he is calling the “freedom date”. While the motivations of the Conservative government easing restrictions should be treated with scepticism, what is undeniable is the hard work workers have put in to get ourselves to “relative normal”. From the aforementioned nurses, to public transport workers and hospitality workers who have enforced social distancing on our transport and in our pubs and restaurants.
In spring 2020, it seemed like most governments and businesses were happy to allow us to either die from Covid, or to toil under precarious conditions with anxiety surrounding it. What is for certain, though, is that the government and our employers perhaps expected a different reaction to this pandemic. This wasn’t the post apocalyptic “every man for themselves” scenario depicted in film – this was 18 months of communities rallying together to aid each other in the worst imaginable times.
When the dust settles on this pandemic, many will be glad to see the back of masks and empty sports stadia, but we should greet the capitalist reaction to the pandemic with the same combined strength with which we greeted the pandemic itself. Strong communities and strong trade unions will need to resist the onslaught of redundancies the capitalist class will try and set upon us for our sacrifice, in the name of “recession” and “crisis”.