The signs started by telling us ‘social distancing’ was the way to go. The signs are now stating boldly that the area is CLOSED. They are not trying to frighten us (or I hope they’re not), they - the signs themselves, or the council people who ordered them - are trying to keep us all safe from this incredibly rampant virus.
Physical separation seems the best way to do this. If we keep to ourselves and severely limit our contact with others, the risk of meeting with the virus and becoming infected lessens.
That’s okay and most of us are coping with these rules and regulations without too much trouble.
But, it’s still early days. How will we be feeling in a month’s time?
In three months’ time?
Six months’ time?
Eventually, boredom will set in – but more than that, a difficult task may be to rein in a creeping fear of what the future holds. And it’s a very real fear.
Reining in fear will take effort. Right now, it’s fine for television programs to show a ‘good news story’ every so often. Something to warm our hearts; maybe a kind deed from some part of community to another - the firemen delivering birthday wishes to house-bound kids, people singing, or dancing in their driveways. But such deeds and happenings are in danger of becoming a bit stale and ‘same-ish’. We might become wearied by too many ‘let’s look on a bright side’ stories.
The constant enumeration of states and countries’ infection and death rates will become a monotonous and dreary wallpaper in our lives – as well as being terrifying.
I have a son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter living in the UK and, while we (smug) Australians listen to our country’s low infection figures, we hear that, in the UK, a thousand people a day are DYING of this virus. Fear for my family grabs its icy grip on my heart at every such news announcement.
It is sometimes difficult to rein in the fear.
And, now there is another fear. Some in the business community - the moneyed - are proposing the idea of creating ‘herd immunity’.
According to The Conversation, UK,
‘Herd immunity means letting a large number of people catch a disease, and hence develop immunity to it, to stop the virus spreading.’
The writer goes on to say:
‘Let’s say Australia and New Zealand relied on herd immunity. Now let’s assume, conservatively, that 10% of the population were infected – that’s 500,000 New Zealanders and 2.5 million Australians. Over a short period, those numbers would disastrously overwhelm the nations’ health systems.’
Doesn’t sound like a happy solution to me!
Actually, the UK tried it for a while, then panicked and changed their minds – too late for many!
This week, Nine News Political Editor, Chris Uhlmann, had this to say:
‘When the International Monetary Fund meets this week it is expected to forecast the deepest contraction for the global economy since the Great Depression.’
No doubt true...But then…..
‘…older Australians should also be free to roam where they please because we live in a democracy. They should be allowed to make an informed choice, weighing the risks they face against the lives they want to lead….
If a grandparent chooses the hugs of a grandchild over the chance that a loving embrace might one day kill them who are we to say it’s not their choice to make?’
Is he for real?
Look, I’m a grandmother and I have had a happy and fulfilling life and, to be honest, I would far rather I die than any of my children or grandchildren, BUT, that’s a different sort of choice. It's not a valid choice one can make.
I don’t think the ‘herd immunity’ choice is one that decides, ‘Okay, so you’re a grandma who would willingly give your life for your children, so, off you go – and thanks.’ This virus will not choose the grandmas like me and leave the younger generation.
This virus is far sneakier than that.
To save the economy downfall, the two and a half million Australians who could die would not necessarily be your grandma.
It might be you, or your friends or the kid next door – or your daughter or son, or your mother, or father, or …. anyone!
Putting money before people’s lives is an unhappy thought.
Sure, the economy will crash – it’s already started. People are out of work and society is crumbling in many areas…but we have been there before and come out of it.
Sure, it's extremely difficult; it takes time. It also takes a different outlook on life in general.
So, for now, obey the signs in the parks and elsewhere and concentrate on positive thinking.
We will survive.