It is often said that when cataclysmic event occurs in our society it is something to remember, that in time we will tell our grandchildren about. As we all live through the horror and the events that continue to unfold in relation to COVID-19 on a day to day basis. I venture to suggest that in time there is a great deal we would like to forget, and some things we would like to pass on to our loved ones.
In this short blog here are some of the perceptions I have made while living through the pandemic that I believe have impacted on all our lives.
Images of a world that stopped
The impact of COVID-19 across the world is unbelievable. It is now reported that more than 200,000 people have lost their lives worldwide. Images of deserted streets in Wohan China, Trafalgar Square (London), Time Square (New York) and the Arc De Triumph in Paris (France) are testimony to the restrictions that have been placed on populations.
In the UK, many transport systems have either been stopped or severely curtailed. Many roads in rural areas have few or no cars at all. In wales we have seen goats galloping through a high street and in the New Forrest donkeys are taking to streets that are deserted.
In the supermarkets we see the manifestation of fear in the population resulting in panic buying and empty shelves.
We see homecare workers for the first time using specially designed clothing to protect them and service users from the virus.
In New York we see the gruesome image of a corpse being carried by a tractor to be loaded on to a refrigerated truck.
Loss of freedom and change in Lifestyle
We have come to learn to our consternation what the term lockdown means. A loss of freedom where we can only leave our homes under strict rules for essentials or daily exercise. The feeling that you cannot go where you want when you want. You are constantly reminded (and rightly so) that staying indoors, and social distancing is a responsibility we all have for saving the lives of others.
Our lifestyles have been subjected to unrecognisable change. There is no longer any social life available outdoors. Theatres, bars restaurants sports and visits to the countryside and seaside are no longer accessible to us. We rely on TV, internet and social media for our entertainment.
Change in the use of language
We have become used to the daily briefings headed up by politicians, chief medical officers’ chief nurses and medical scientists who are charged with keeping us up to date on COVID-19. They have introduced a new vocabulary to us and placed emphasis on words which very few of us would use in our ordinary lives. ‘We are at war with a hidden enemy’, Transmission rates, the infection rate curve, social distancing, social isolation, restricted to remaining at home, testing, antibodies and ventilators have all suddenly become part of the norm.
The human spirit and sense of community
It is said that when our concerns over COVID-19 come to an end the world will no longer be the same as it was. But if in the end there is anything good that could come from this pandemic, that is the demonstration of the human spirit, (The compassion and love that one has for another human being).
This can surely be seen in all those involved in the health and social care industry who have provided treatment and care to sufferers of the virus when there is risk to themselves and their families. Many of whom have paid the ultimate price given their lives to the cause.
We have seen many fine examples of community spirit. The clapping of thanks outside our doors for the NHS and social care workers showing our appreciation. The delivery of much needed food parcels to the elderly who are self-isolating in their homes. The entertaining of residents outside care homes, postmen in fancy dress exercise classes on music on social media. We have been amazed by the walking of Captain Tom who approaching 100 years of age has become an iconic figure in these surreal times. All in all, a general coming together to fight the virus.
I know we will all have our own perceptions of what life is like during a the pandemic COVID-19. The good, the bad and the ugly. But above all while the loss to some is greater than others, we should all take from it the assurance of the human spirit that lives in us all and our sense and strength of community.
Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute Managing Director Bettal Quality Consultancy