Coronavirus in Hull.

At a time when the North East city of Hull has become one of the highest rate of COVID in the Uk, – Amelia Grace, leading young blogger in East Yorks in the UK, gives a first hand assessment of where it is going wrong – and where does that leave the uk?

Coronavirus has been a common part of life for close to a year now. It’s plastered all over the news, it’s a massive topic of conversation and it’s all anyone seems to talk about. What do you think about the pandemic? Has the government handled it in the right way? When will we have a vaccine and will it have an impact? Will life ever be normal again?

These are some of the things I’ve discussed with people and I have wondered since March and the first lockdown.

More recently, the government has tackled the situation with a tiered approach, categorising places into medium, high or very high in terms of covid alert level. I’m a resident of Hull, a city in Yorkshire which started off in tier 1 and entered tier 2 just before the whole country was thrust into a lockdown on 5 November. Now, we have the most cases out of the whole of the UK and are set to enter tier 3 once we are released from lockdown. What went wrong in Hull?

Complacency. In my opinion, that is how Hull’s cases have suddenly projected so high. Starting off in tier 1, many of us were holding our breath, waiting and expecting to be moved up to tier 2 because our number of covid cases were closer to that of towns and cities in tier 2. Since tier 1 has the least amount of restrictions, people could still meet up in groups of 6 indoors and outdoors, visit cafes, restaurants and shops and basically live their lives in a fairly normal fashion. The fact Hull spent so long in tier 1 meant some of its people became more relaxed as you would if you were in the bottom tier and abandoned their more cautious attitude towards the virus. From my perspective, I typified this stereotype, spending much of my time in September and October, meeting up with my friends and family in a mixture of indoor and outdoor settings. Towards the end of October, I did start to get more anxious about having to isolate or catching the virus but it didn’t stop me from carrying on with life as normal.

Then all of a sudden, we were in tier 2. But it wasn’t all of a sudden. The truth was Hull had needed to be in the middle of the three tiers for a while. The citizens of Hull turned to outdoor gatherings as opposed to indoor ones and had their Halloween and Bonfire night parties before the 31st October when we were still under tier 1 rules. Was it a little too late though? The cases were already rising and had been ever since September. Alas, we will never know because the day that we moved into tier 2 was the day Boris Johnson announced a lockdown for the whole country. We spent less than a week enduring those tighter restrictions trying to get everything done for Christmas before we were locked back up in our homes.

Could the problem even be tracked back to March? Evidence shows that the first wave of the virus didn’t hit people in Hull nearly as badly as it did in other places. After the first lockdown, I could only name people who I had a very distant social connection to who had contracted the virus. Now, in November, I can name many. My teacher. My classmate. A member of my church. The personal connection to the virus that wasn’t there previously is now in full effect and it’s frightening to know that people you’ve seen recently have experienced the virus. It causes you to worry for your friends and family in a way you didn’t in the first wave and it proves it’s authenticity. It’s real. And it’s not going away.

The virus has affected me in a personal way as I am now isolating for two weeks after being in contact with someone at college who has contracted the virus. All things considered, it may be a blessing in disguise with the rapidly growing amount of cases in Hull. Even before our year group was sent home for this reason, some of my friends were already isolating due to being in contact with the virus. It has been spreading for a while and the hope of the city is that this lockdown will serve to break the chain in terms of infections and stop more people from overwhelming the NHS and ultimately dying from it.

Some positivity that has shone through all the bleakness is the way that the local media have handled the second wave as of recent times. Look North, our local news for East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, have covered stories where they have spoken to people with the virus and hospital staff. Their aim is to spread awareness about the virus and the effects it can have and it is so refreshing to see this sector of the media using their influence for good. Instead of scaremongering or downplaying the virus, they have presented it as it is and are trying their best to help with the worsening situation.

Can Hull turn it around? Only time will tell. With this current lockdown and the tightened tier 3 measures this city could potentially face in December, it looks achievable. However, after the cases in Hull fall again, another area will assume the top spot of the most covid cases in England list. This cycle will continue over and over again until one day we beat the virus. Hopefully, that day will come soon.


The King and I. The Classic Musical for all time.

Just to prove that not everything happens in London, our rapidly upcoming blogger and journalist Amelia Grace went to see “The King and I” in the provincial Yorkshire town of Hull,  just a few days ago.  This is what she says:

Based on the 1941 novel ‘Anna and the King of Siam’, the timeless musical ‘The King and I’ follows Anna, a schoolteacher, as her and her young son Louis emigrate to Siam (now Thailand) to start a new life teaching the King of Siam’s many children. As the opposite personalities and cultures of herself and the King clash, it portrays how even the most unlikely of people can form a strong bond between them.

The musical isn’t shy in tackling big issues such as polygamy and gender inequality which can be explicitly seen through the King’s many wives and the derogatory way he often addresses the women he interacts with. As the audience, we go on a journey with the King as Anna mellows him and causes him to see the way he acts can sometimes be oppressive. They often fight over his unwillingness to treat her as an equal because she’s a woman and he sees her as one of his subjects so therefore she must obey him and bow face on the ground to him whenever she’s in his presence. On the other hand, Anna fights for what she believes in which is equal rights for women and refuses to cower whenever she argues with the King about his treatment of women or when he demands that she bow down at his feet. She does compromise for him like when she moves her position because it offends him if she’s higher than him. However, overall, her passion and commitment to the pursuit of gender equality provides him with a refreshing perspective, considering most of the women he interacts with sycophantically agree with him on everything and would never dream of arguing with him. Although it seems quite ordinary in our modern society to fight for gender equality, it would’ve been very rare to discover a woman like Anna who mirrors some of the earliest feminists like the suffragettes.

It would potentially be dangerous to hold such views about gender inequality so Anna is quite incredible in not only voicing her opinions but fighting for rights as a woman as well. I think the reason the King never reprimands her for arguing with him about women’s rights is because he quite admires her passion and courage and can’t bring himself to harm such a strong, incredible woman. This, for me, is one of the reasons why he falls in love with her and if anyone is worthy of his love, it’s Anna.

Another quite disturbing aspect of the musical is the representation of slavery. Tuptim, a pretty slave girl, is given to the King as a present from the King of Burma. She has no choice but to become one of the King’s wives despite being in love with Lun Tha, the scholar who escorted her there. The couple share stolen kisses and clandestine moments together despite the immense danger they would be in if they were caught. In fact, they are caught by one of the King’s many wives who claims that she won’t tell the King because of how much it will anger and devastate him. However, in view of the punishments they would receive if the King discovered their affair, I was more inclined to believe it was because she would feel too guilty to sentence them both to that suffering. During an embassy visit from the UK, Tuptim performs a play she’s organised herself and the anti slavery message contained within it is very explicit. She and Lun Tha had planned to run away together after the play, however, the king discovers the affair and is enraged. Lun Tha is discovered dead and Tuptim is lead away in chains, screaming for her own suicide because what life is there without her lover being there with her?

The musical ends as the King contracts a deadly illness and is dying slowly. All his loved ones including Anna crowd around his bed, soaking up their last moments with him. It’s a quiet end to an outgoing, fierce character such as the King but I think it reflects his softer side that is concealed deep inside him. In the end, he can’t fight any longer but he has to accept his fate and appreciate the people who love him especially Anna. It feels like a natural end to the musical as he names his son the new King of Siam. One King’s reign ends as another’s journey as King is just beginning..