A pandemic that should never be forgotten | Letters

As ever, Jonathan Freedland writes more powerfully and movingly than any other commentator (History suggests we may forget the pandemic sooner than we think, 29 January). His appeal for us to find a means of perpetuating some memory of those who died, who were bereaved, and of the heroism of those who strove to save lives, should resonate far beyond this current state of limbo.

Why not establish a bank holiday? The final vaccinations should be administered by the autumn, so a date could be found midway between the August bank holiday and Christmas. This would surely be better than a plethora of statues or memorial plaques.
Peter Wilkes
Steyning, West Sussex

• Jonathan Freedland expresses the concern that the pandemic may not be commemorated because it “lacks the essential ingredients of a story” and we are, according to Graham Swift, “the storytelling animal”. Maybe this explains the popularity of coronavirus conspiracy theories. They supply a selection of villains (Bill Gates, for example) towards whom hatred and vitriol can be directed. If the villains are hapless, hopeless politicians who wanted only to be popular, not for people to die, and the heroes are ordinary people doing what they can to help others, where is the epic dimension, the dramatic storyline?
Cate Gunn
Colne Engaine, Essex

• What a moving, relevant article by Jonathan Freedland that I think will be essential reading in schools for some time. I am an ageing retired academic who spent part of my life on influenza research and sadly see some fellow scientists not heeding the history of infectious diseases in their opinions and practice. Jonathan’s article may prove to be a social wake-up call. Thank you from an old dodder of 80.
Dr Brian Thomas


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