My husband died of coronavirus on the last day of March. We were not allowed to visit him in hospital to accompany him through the last days of his life. We were not allowed to have a funeral to say a formal, communal goodbye.
Since then I have, up to now, spent eight weeks alone in the family home. I am able to see one of my daughters who lives nearby as long as we sit in the garden at a distance. With the other daughter I communicate mostly by phone. We have not been able to be together to share our grief and comfort each other. We all find this situation close to unbearable.
Boris Johnson mentions “parental instinct” (Johnson’s defence of Cummings sparks anger from allies and opponents alike, 24 May). My wifely, parental and human instincts were to be with my husband, and then to be with my daughters. But our understanding is that these rules are not just for us as individuals, but for the good of the whole of society.
What are we to think when our government says one thing and does another?
• Contempt. This word describes so many things. The contempt that Dominic Cummings holds for the British people. The contempt he holds for the rule of law. The contempt he holds for people who couldn’t see their family during this pandemic. And the contempt I have for Mr Cummings.
I am a junior doctor who for the last three months has told relatives they can’t visit patients in hospital. While patients lay dying of this virus, I was forced to narrate their deaths over the phone to people who kept to the rules. I have despaired at the hopelessness of this situation where patients cannot see their relatives. We all sacrificed something, we all gave up something of ourselves. Except for him; he has nothing but contempt for us all.
• At the start of lockdown my partner and I fell ill with what we believe was coronavirus. We have 16-month-old triplets and a six-year-old at home. Looking after them during this time was horrendous, scary and upsetting. Apparently, though, we should have just applied “instinct” in this situation and taken them to my partner’s parents (12 miles away) or my mum’s (15 miles away). Stupid us, we thought by staying in and isolating completely that we were keeping others safe – especially our parents, who are all over 70.
At one stage we were really worried if we could continue to care for them and thought about whether we may have to call the NHS or social care. Turns out we shouldn’t have cared or worried about the health and safety of others and sought help as apparently a father would do. The level of hypocrisy and sheer arrogance from this government is phenomenal. For Boris Johnson to try to defend this highlights how it has always been – one rule for them and one for the rest of us.
• Dominic Cummings may have followed his instincts as a parent. I would have loved to have followed my instincts as a daughter and forced my way into my mum’s nursing home in the month before her death on 23 April, to hug her and comfort her. The reason I didn’t do that (and therefore she didn’t have that comfort) is for the sake of my community.
I am really upset that Dominic Cummings’ “instincts” have been indulged when I was mug enough to play by what I thought were the rules. Why can the prime minister not see that, by standing by Cummings, he has slapped me and my family in the face?
Lewes, East Sussex
• On Sunday evening my 97-year-old father watched Boris Johnson. He’s not like Captain Tom: he gets confused, forgetful and sleeps a lot. He’s not been following the news much but knows about the “flu” and says “it’s getting a bit serious” when he does occasionally see something. He usually prefers to watch the pre-recorded snooker.
At the beginning, while Boris Johnson was giving his statement, my father started laughing and made the comment “dropped a bollock there”. Quite. By the time the press questions had finished, he made his next comment, which was directed to Boris: “It’s all a load of bullshit.” A weak (terminally ill) 97-year-old has more common sense and perception of public feeling than the prime minister. Who knew?
• As the proud father of an intensive care unit doctor, I for one want to continue celebrating the selfless effort made by many key workers to keep other people’s sons and daughters safe (Let’s stop clapping for the NHS, says woman who started the ritual, 22 May).
However, would our brave key workers mind if this particular Thursday night, instead of a “clap for the NHS”, the British public were able to express their views on recent events?
Options for expressing our disgust could include a “boo for Boris” or a hearty rendition of “Cheerio, cheerio, cheerio” for Mr Cummings.
Perhaps then the country’s judgment on the behaviour of our leaders will become apparent?
• As a de-retired GP working for NHS 111, what should I tell the next parent who consults with non-life-threatening symptoms consistent with a Covid-19 infection? So far it has been “stay at home, self-isolate and don’t hesitate to call back if you have any deteriorating symptoms”. On my next shift should it be, “rely on your instinct and integrity”?
Dr Adrian Penn
North Wraxall, Wiltshire
• Barely a day passes when Boris Johnson fails to seek to liken himself to Winston Churchill, and the Covid-19 crisis has given him the opportunity to be Churchillian – but has he taken it? To be fair, he gets pretty close. Churchill: “Keep buggering on.” Boris Johnson: “Keep buggering up.”
Dr Richard G Richards
Brant Broughton, Lincolnshire
• Boris Johnson really has trashed the brand, if the Church of England – once known as the Tory party at prayer – has now turned on him (Bishops turn on Boris Johnson for defending Dominic Cummings, 25 May).
• It would be ironic if a Durham minor led to the eventual fall of a Conservative prime minister.
• I spotted The Science driving up the M1 at the end of March. It’s only natural that Dominic Cummings would be following it.
• Asking Boris Johnson to sack Dominic Cummings is like asking Emu to sack Rod Hull.
• I was so disappointed that Monday’s country diary wasn’t from Barnard Castle.