On the Voices desk, the pandemic constantly made us re-evaluate what we needed to shed light on or understand

Whatever happens next, we’ll continue to provide a platform during public health crises like these, writes Kuba Shand-Baptiste

Sunday 11 October 2020 16:45
NHS staff salute local heroes during a Clap for Carers event
NHS staff salute local heroes during a Clap for Carers event

When lockdown rules first came into force, the impact on various groups in society wasn’t immediately clear. For one, many of us were under the impression that it wouldn’t last for more than a few weeks, let alone months. The panic-buying-induced food shortages in Italy were turned into memes overseas mere weeks before we found ourselves in the same situation. As cases soared in Europe, while remaining relatively low (for a time) in a number of African countries, the belief that certain ethnicities were immune grew too. Even the anti-mask cohort we saw go from strength to strength in the US didn’t seem like it would cross over to the UK as quickly as it did. How wrong we were.  

Looking back now, those assumptions seem absurd. But on the Voices desk, each day highlighted a new situation we either knew little about or needed to shed more light on as the world we once knew transformed dramatically before our eyes. We learned more about the number of people trapped in lockdown with their abusers [Domestic abuse survivors and their children are still falling through the cracks]; accommodation shortfalls for people experiencing homelessness; the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on black people and various communities of colour [Don’t let Matt Hancock fool you, the government is intent on ignoring the root cause of Bame coronavirus deaths]; the extent of the pandemic-related racism against those of east and southeast Asian heritage [I'm Japanese and terrified about the end of lockdown because of the racist abuse I will face]; the strain on health and care workers, immigrants and changing attitudes towards labour itself. I could easily go on.  

Many of the things we anticipated did not come to fruition in the way we thought they would. As we await the announcement of the reimposition of lockdown restrictions, that’s worth remembering. It would be easy to assume that we’re in for more of the same this time around, especially with repeat situations like panic-buying rearing their ugly heads again. But, just like last time, there will likely be more in store for us that we haven’t considered.  

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