On December 31st, 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) acknowledged the first cases of the Corona Virus (Covid-19) within Wuhan, China. Since its initial outbreak, Covid-19 has now spread to over 113 countries, with Italy suffering its worst hit. With the death toll at a steep incline and evidence of the pandemic spreading at exponential speeds, we are facing one of the world’s most challenging outbreaks. Yet, in light of confronting the severity of the issue, we face the harsh reality that: it’ll only get worse, before it gets better.
During such difficult and uncertain times, we can lose sight of the greatness of human solidarity; the unity which forms in moments of hardship and desperation. Regrettably, these times can quickly become overwhelming and certainly can take a toll on our mental health. With many of our questions going unanswered, we can feel helpless, isolated and confused. However, we mustn’t panic in the face of uncertainty. It may feel as though we are amidst the darkest hour – quite literally amid ‘the unknown’. Though, ‘the darkest hour is nearest to dawn’, and we are gradually edging closer towards the twinkling rays of the sunlight.
Within the past month, the world has seen compassion and sacrifice like no other. Above all, perhaps, the heroes on the frontline, the hospital staff (and all other emergency services) labouring tirelessly for the country’s safe recovery. Ex-policemen and NHS staff have returned to their organisations in the collaborative effort to rid this country from the virus. Something our country proudly commemorated in a heart-warming moment as the nation united clapping, cheering and celebrating our utmost respect for our health and welfare workers. However, for me, the ‘back-pat’ stretches far beyond just those serving on the frontlines. Our sanitation services (bin men, janitors, and so on) have granted us the ability to operate our usual daily activities – keeping our country hygienic and preventing further spread of disease. Not to mention the joint efforts of hospitality, supply chain and distribution staff who have continued to operate during such turbulent and unprecedented times. Providing us with the essentials for survival, these employees deserve the same recognition. Besides from these institutions, we ought to appreciate the researchers, online support groups and volunteers who have battled from the side lines to uphold social, economic and emotional reassurance. Let us not forget the troops behind animal welfare services, who have continued to function regularly compromising their own health for the lives of the helpless. If there is some consolation during these dire circumstances, perhaps, it is the global unity which has allied our world together. Individuals who have honed in on their skills to provide patronage, aid and inspiration to a country which is in crisis.
However, in times like this, we should spare a thought for those less fortunate than us. Those who are vulnerable to the virus (because of existing medical conditions), those with economically deprived and unstable households, and the homeless. Now, more than ever before, do they face a lack of stability within their lives. The abused unable to escape from their homes, the financially impoverished unable to seek the guidance they need, the ill, unwell and addicted losing out on the support that is their lifeline. For times like these, we rely on the goodness of human virtue to help alleviate these difficulties. Promisingly, however, foodbanks and free school meal plans have continued to operate as a means of providing aid to those in need. Likewise, arrangements have been made for social carers to continue serving those at risk and more recently, pharmacies have set up schemes to provide food and medical delivery to the elderly or disabled communities who are unable to leave their homes. Perhaps this grants solace to those in a disadvantaged position during this unsettling period. However, we mustn’t forget those who have suffered the loss of their loved ones. In recent times, new regulations have compromised the appropriate grieving and consoling of those whose dear ones have passed away. This can be extremely challenging, and we ought to showcase our support and understanding for anyone who may need the comfort of a friend to relieve them from the ache of their loss.
On the contrary, however, our gratitude to such services (as mentioned above) lies within our responsibility to stay indoors and refrain from spreading the virus further. In our team efforts to remain isolated, and abide by the government regulations, will we see true change. In the next two to three weeks, our efforts will be evident and should provide us with more clarity of how Covid-19 will affect our society within the upcoming months, though this all depends on our ability to follow the guidelines set by the officials. By protecting our friends, our neighbours, our society and our country will we be able to find ourselves outdoors once again, back to normality. Nevertheless, it is equally as important to check up on our friends and family, via phone calls and text messages to ensure that they too are safe and well. Perhaps reconnect with old acquaintances and reach out to the vulnerable. Shockingly, even in such instances, con-artists and criminals are still thieving of the exposed and susceptible. More necessary than ever, should we respond to the aid of the helpless and offer them our care and support. We are in this together, and we rely on one another to battle through such an extraordinary period of history. For the first time since WWII, does our existence rely so heavily on one another, on community, on union.
What’s worth mentioning, though, is that we are now more capable and equipped of conquering Covid-19, than ever before. Remaining as one of the most technologically and medically advanced countries, and of our time, we stand a strong chance of recuperating and overcoming this pandemic. Whilst there is little certainty of when this may be, this is most certainly a reassuring thought. Additionally, hope has enlightened what could come after Covid-19. The simple yet desired promise of what we once took for granted – the return of routine, community, opportunity and freedom sparks optimism of a better functioning society. We will appreciate all that we have and more; for the simple reason of experiencing such turbulent and frightening times, together. However, we must note that Covid-19 has struck us with a global financial crisis similar to that of The Great Depression. Once again, thus, the responsibility falls on us to re-boot our local businesses, support local restaurants and bars, buy locally sourced foods, visit landmarks across the country and boost tourism. Even after Covid-19, our country will rely on us to re-build economic stability and heal the businesses who took a blow during this moment of financial stillness.
We all have our concerns and anxieties as this period continues to dominate the media and our lives. But this is my attempt to spread the message of positivity, and I’m hoping yours too. Perhaps Covid-19 is an unfortunate wakeup call to remind us of the luxuries we take for granted or maybe a binding of communities in times of grief and uncertainties. However, my wish is that we remain just as unified after this struggle ends; that we continue to stay alert and sensitive even after such times and put conflict, apathy and prejudice behind us. After all, our solidarity is our salvation here, and in a perfect world will this continue.
Covid-19 is a waiting game, but every second which ticks forward, we are ahead of where we were the moment before. We are inching ahead, closer to the end. Back to life as we knew it before Covid-19, only better this time. Remember: stay positive, stay strong and stay safe.