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3 months ago by Debbie Lloyd

"Silver Linings” from the Pandemic

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The Times find some “silver linings” from the pandemic:

It is now almost two weeks since we started taking this seriously. The consensus is that it will be a lot longer before life returns to anything like normal. As the prime minister, himself stricken, has repeatedly said, there is no way to sugar-coat the bleak, bitter toll this virus is taking on the country and the planet. More than one million people have tested positive for Covid-19, almost 40,000 of them in Britain. At a conservative estimate, the virus has killed more than 55,000 worldwide, including 3,605 on these shores. The casualty count in this country yesterday totalled 684, the highest number registered in a 24-hour period thus far. The long-threatened tsunami has arrived. It will be some time before the wave recedes.

Each death is a tragedy. Across Britain, across the world, families face the loss of loved ones before their time. Sons and daughters cannot comfort a dying mum or dad. Neither can attend a beloved parent’s funeral. In the barrage of statistics, each individual bereavement is indescribably awful. It is scant solace to state that this dreadful situation will end. Yet end it will. And when it does, without trivialising the suffering undergone, there is much in our response from which we can derive satisfaction and encouragement.

First and foremost, the sacrifice, stamina and sheer stoicism of frontline medics is awesome to behold. The world was first alerted to this threat by courageous clinicians in China, some of whom have since succumbed. At the last count, 66 of the 14,000 dead in Italy are doctors. In Britain, several retired health workers, returning to their vocation, have given their lives. Such selflessness humbles us all, as the communal Thursday applause for the NHS demonstrates. The continued high morale of health workers is a lesson to everyone growing impatient with confinement. As is that displayed by social carers, delivery drivers and shelf stackers. No one will be calling their jobs menial or unskilled any time soon.

The applause for the NHS reveals further cause for optimism in the way neighbourhoods are bonding together to face down the threat. Surveys indicate that, paradoxically, people are feeling less lonely and isolated under lockdown than they did a few short weeks ago. The young are looking out for the old. The old, cajoled by the young, are mastering myriad media they might previously have abjured. In less tecky fashion, people are picking up the phone. Christmas card lists, normally stowed away until November, are dusted down, dormant friendships revived. Under unwished for circumstances, a country schismatically sundered a mere four months ago finds itself united once more. No one’s talking about Brexit now.

Old-school hobbies such as baking, knitting, reading, gardening and mending are making a comeback. As indeed, encouraged by a decline in pollution, the newly noticed natural world is too, what with goats invading Llandudno and seals chilling on Brighton beach. Spring-cleaning, tidying and decluttering have rarely been more popular. Rescue dogs and cats are being rehomed at record rates. Recorded crime is down. Anecdotal evidence suggests that we are eating more healthily while also, counterintuitively, exercising more often. A resurgence of local shopping is reinvigorating the high street. Firms are retooling facilities to produce ventilators, sanitisers and PPE gear instead of Formula One engines, bottles of gin and bras.

Even as our admiration of science and scientists grows, the arts are also playing a blinder. Online museum tours, live-streamed plays, operas and fashion shows are keeping us entertained. What’s more, Life on Mars is set for a revival! Mr Motivator and the Green Goddess, 67 and 80 years young respectively, are back on our screens. Even better, this afternoon at 5.15, we can all tune in to the virtual Grand National. Place your bets. Life goes on. Hang in there everyone.

Source: The Times