I haven’t seen or lived with my husband who is an essential worker in hospital for over 7 weeks.
An essential worker myself working on the frontline, I had to take a step back after being deemed vulnerable, meaning that I would be risking my life to save those of others, if I continued to go in to work.
So, naturally, my husband and I had to make the difficult decision to live apart. Regardless of the fact that birthdays and anniversaries were amidst these weeks separated.
For those who think I should be grateful for being taken care of and protected by our nation I couldn’t agree more. Most of our success at overcoming this pandemic as a nation was and still is because we have protected the most vulnerable first and foremost.
Should we not have done that, most of us would have died, and our hospitals would have been overwhelmed in its early stages.
However, the opening of certain non-essential retail will also mean the vulnerable like myself will have to be away from our better halves and loved ones for close to a year, to a year and a half. Thereabouts, till a vaccine becomes available.
This is no joke. Living so secluded for such a long time means not only a strain on relationships, but also a strain on one’s mental health.
While some or most people in good health are quoting “survival of the fittest” and that “we should learn to live with the virus”, one must also bear in mind that the vulnerable do not just signify old frail people who have lived long beautiful lives.
Some of us are just in our twenties or younger. Some are cancer patients who had been nearing the end of their treatment but now face another potentially deadly threat out there. Some are immuno-compromised kids, who for the past weeks have been locked away in hospital rooms with just one parent to ensure their safety.
If the restrictions are lifted, the vulnerable will be treated differently and discriminated against.
What does opening restaurants and other non-essential retail mean for them? Can people say to their face that survival of the fittest applies to the vulnerable and whatever is intended to happen, then and so be it?
The saying when all this started was that we are all in this together. Unfortunately, from a vulnerable person’s perspective, the moment restrictions are lifted, it will become an US vs THEM point of view.
Last that I checked, we are all Maltese citizens who pay our taxes and abide by the law. Yet the vulnerable are being treated differently and discriminated against. The more the cases of COVID-19 infections rise, the less we will be able to hug our loved ones any time soon.
The more we will be marginalised in a society which no longer sees us as a part of them but more of a burden which is slowing down the economy.
Some of you might read this and grumble by its heavy content, but there are many who will read this and relate to their newfound reality. A reality which is still in the hands of our authorities to go one way or another.
We, as a vulnerable people, together hope that we can be seen as more than just a burden and that we can be included in the planning of this new found reality’s contingency plan.
We, together, hope that we can be told more than just keep living on your own and don’t dare go out for your own safety. We together as a people would love to be seen as one of you again, for we are all human.
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