Two weeks ago whilst Addicks and other football fans at about half of the football clubs around the country were (were) venturing back into stadiums, Bermuda suddenly halted it’s football league and games were postponed indefinitely as the island suddenly wrestled with a cruel and quick re-emergence of Covid-19.
Bermuda was a Covid safe haven in the summer and early autumn. Those of us that live here boasted that we were in a bubble, life was normal, at least as much as it can be. From June to November Bermuda had zero active cases benefiting from a strict lockdown, which was very well observed. Our airport was closed and the cruise ship tap was long turned off. Very few people came or left the island and we moved around it quite freely.
Once the airport re-opened in July, and flights became more regular we saw an increase in positive tests, but still it was manageable, expected and dealt with. No one had been hospitalized in island’s one hospital since the spring.
However, this island stranded in the Atlantic Ocean got blasé, the government encouraged the economy to open, what gaps in bars and restaurants there were due to a lack of business travellers and tourists were filled by locals encouraged to spend money and support the already damaged economy.
We had golf and rugby tournaments as well as a big sailing event each with competitors from all over the world. Schools were open, and most people, including me, were back in the office. Strict rules were conveniently navigated and filed as life got to some sort of normality. “We are lucky,” I’d say, sat on another video call from my office with someone who had not left their spare bedroom for months. “Just off to lunch now, ah sorry.”
We blamed those locals and ex-pats for the odd positive case that returned on a plane…. how dare they go and visit family in infested countries. Yet all the time Bermuda had no local transmission. The earlier deaths were elderly with underlying conditions, or just old. People over a 100-years old were dying.
That has all changed within the last two weeks. We have had 208 positive cases in 14 days, the vast majority via local transmission, many unknown contact or source. Bermuda never shook the virus of course, but we had a lid on it. No longer.
I know people with it, I know kids who have it and I know families that have it. The average age here of active recent cases is under 30. Keeping bars open, living in the bubble came at a cost, and Bermuda is suddenly paying the price and the government on a daily basis slowly re-closes the island as our R Number goes above 2.0.
The rules here are changing on a daily basis, but there still at least seems like there is clarity and a plan. I can’t say that about what I see in the UK, and England and London.
Tier 3 begins tomorrow for Londoners, Christmas is cancelled, and football clubs, and thousands of other businesses are thrown back into a dark well.
A vaccine is coming, we’ve seen television photos of people having it, but for restaurant and bar owners, hospitality, small businesses, community football clubs, entertainment venues and so many others the road ahead to some sort of normality is still long and rocky.
We touched a tiny bit of normal here in Bermuda, it felt good for a while, but it bit back. Hard.