Shielding Stories

People like us don't go to the Houses of Parliament on a tractor

The Netherlands

April-May 2022

I am scientifically educated myself, but funnily enough, it was through my son that I learned about the new coronavirus very early on. He has friends from all over the world, so he heard rumours in December 2019 that something was off. At first I thought it would be okay. With SARS-CoV-1 it also ended with a sizzle. But then in January it started to become very clear, and it was my son who first concluded: mom, this is going wrong. Read more

Consciously keeping distance

The Netherlands

April 2022

At the beginning of the pandemic, even before the first lockdown, I was approached on the street by a man in Amsterdam, who seemed to be working out at the gym regularly. He took issue with me wearing a face mask, and said that face masks made no sense at all. I felt I had to counter it right away. I told him that a grandchild was on the way, and that I would like to see them grow up. But he didn't listen to me at all. Read more

Someone else shouldn't be allowed to decide whether I get ill

Southern Netherlands

April 2022

In March 2020 my partner fell out with a colleague at work who was coughing violently and who wasn't following the government advice already in force at the time, namely to stay at home if you had any symptoms. He then went to HR, where people still doubted whether they should do anything with the situation. Read more

The risk of chronic damage is getting closer

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

March-April 2022

In January 2020 I read in a newspaper about the coronavirus in China and was immediately alert. I started reading up on it. The first reports I came across from China were confusing and disturbing. Within a few days, my alertness grew into worry and real stress. I sensed that this was going to disrupt everything soon, unless we took action. Read more

Resistance to mass fantasy

North-Holland, The Netherlands

April 2022

Four years ago I had a conversation with a colleague about ‘the pandemic that was going to happen soon’. They worked in veterinary science and studied avian influenza. Back then, the scientific community seemed convinced that a ‘flu would be the culprit of the next worldwide outbreak. The damage would likely be considerable, my colleague told me. Read more

I still don’t dare look far into the future

The Netherlands

April 2022

I retired just before the pandemic started. That had been quite a turning point for me. I had worked in education until I turned 66. All my life I have been in front of the classroom and was I able to help children and my colleagues. Read more

If this can’t push people into action, what will?

Tasmania, Australia

March-April 2022

We had recently moved to Tasmania from New South Wales, and had built a house in Southern Tasmania when the pandemic began. Frank, my husband, works remotely from his office, which is based in Sydney. We used to return to Sydney every six months or so, so that he could go into the office and we could visit our friends. Read more

A principled, completely rational and moral decision

The Netherlands, Northern Europe

March-April 2022

The initial decision to shield for me came based on the reports that we were getting from China (mostly through Twitter and personal contacts at this point) about people experiencing severe pneumonia, breathing difficulties and deaths. Read more

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