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Since it’s VE Day this week, a comparison between perceived risks today and in previous generations

(5 Posts)
Thedogshow Mon 04-May-20 09:38:40

Back in 1939 people were asked to risk their life for their country, and so very many young people did die in the horrific period between 1939-1945. I just think it’s interesting that people nowadays are so much less accepting of any sort of risk.

I feel frustrated, for example, some teachers appear to be saying that there is no way that they will ‘risk’ going back to teach children EVER, despite the fact that I don’t think a single outbreak of coronavirus has been linked to a school anywhere.

I know lots of people are now realising that the hysteria of the beginning of the pandemic when they shouted FFS, stay the F at home, and suggested that going out for a walk was akin to jumping off a cliff in terms of risk. Is it that we are unwilling to take any sort of risks, however small, these days to benefit other people? Throughout the pandemic lots of people have not had the luxury to stay at home- supermarket workers, nurses, doctors, hospital porters, pharmacists, delivery drivers. They haven’t just been able to say no.

Education has to continue, life has to continue. Most people who get coronavirus will not be seriously ill, most people won’t get it any way, and in all situations in life there is an element of risk. Of course for some people it is extremely serious, but this is the small minority (useful case study Diamond princess cruise ship, for example, where most passengers were in ‘at risk’ categories).

Getting in a car, walking beside a main road, travelling abroad, getting any sort of virus or bacterial infection in everyday life carries risks. People get cancer, diabetes complications, heart problems, get into fights on nights out, have tragic accidents. People do die, every day, from all sorts of things. That doesn’t mean it isn’t awful, and life changing if it is someone you love. It really is, it’s horrific and completely devastating. But there are risks everywhere and you cannot control them all. Children are at risk in some homes when schools are off for a long time, for example.

Surely we have to accept some risk and weight it up and... maybe keep calm and carry on?

OP’s posts: |
sanealaddin Mon 04-May-20 09:49:41

Yes, I agree. I'm older than many on here and my mum was a child during the Second World War. She was sent away from her parents to live in the country. A child, on her own, tasked with looking after her younger brother. My father was slightly older and was fighting in active service at 18 years old.

My grandparents lost children and other family members to TB and polio. They also lost children and there was no NHS. My very poor grandparents couldn't afford doctors when their children were ill.

Things have come a long way and we are very fortunate. I wouldn't change anything for the world. But we do need to learn to assess risk and develop resilience. It's been a hard lesson for us, myself included. I've lost members of my immediate family in 3 different car accidents, to cancer and other illnesses but this change to our normal, changing everything we are familiar with, has been very hard to deal with.

CaptainMerica Mon 04-May-20 10:26:58

A pandemic is a completely different thing though, because it is not about the risk to yourself, as much as the risk to other people.

Deciding to go to work as normal during the blitz was a risk to yourself and no one else.

Deciding that you will carry on as normal and not distance would be a risk to yourself, but also all the people you come into contact with, their families, all the staff who have to treat those people and all the people who won't get NHS treatment due to the knock on impact.

I don't think you can compare the two.

Thedogshow Mon 04-May-20 10:29:23

Completely agree they are very different, of course, and should have clarified: think it has been essential to enforce social distancing. I’m just saying that you cannot avoid risk forever. Life will have to continue, with some extra risk.

OP’s posts: |
bathsh3ba Mon 04-May-20 10:55:18

I agree and I don't think most people really are thinking of others (outside their immediate circle) because if you look at the big picture, the individual risk is small.

I was talking to my mum about this yesterday. We all expect to live long lives these days but to my grandparents' generation, a 'good death' and a happy life were more important than a long life. My mum, for her, feels she'd rather die in a few weeks of corona in her 60s than over months with many comorbidities in her 80s. I think part of this panic is that we find the idea of anyone dying too terrible to consider.

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