The pandemic isn’t beaten yet – this is no time to release the ‘pause‘ button

National hero: Captain Tom Moore raised millions for the NHS by marching laps around his garden

Coronavirus isn’t beaten yet, says MARGARET DUDDIN. We need more time to consider what we have learned during this frightening time

SO MUCH HAS ALREADY BEEN SAID about our amazing key workers, about the many acts of care and kindness we have witnessed and the fact that 90 per cent of the population has complied with self-isolation and social distancing necessary to counter coronavirus. In addition, a large proportion of people have willingly accepted the pay cuts and loss of work as industry and commerce have ground to a closedown, demonstrating a sense of national unity of which we can feel truly proud. Who would wish to live anywhere else?

Not only are we blessed with people like the amazing centenarian NHS fundraiser Captain Tom Moore but also the nation’s outpouring of love and support for his efforts.

I have followed the pandemic progress daily by tuning in to LBC radio, which has performed like a public service broadcaster. The great and the good and what seemed like hundreds of “experts” have given their learned perspectives; the state of this nation has been analysed from every viewpoint.

At the same time the crisis has pulled back the curtain and exposed the oft-unbelievable conditions in which some people live. Most of the calls were from single mothers which begs my question, ‘Where are the fathers?’ Why are these men rarely located and made to help raise their children?

I was horrified when I heard that schools were closing. Why? Because I have no rose-tinted, Enid Blyton vision of little ones arriving home to find mummy in the kitchen baking cakes. While home for most children is safe haven where they are loved, for too many it is not. For safety’s sake, children must be seen regularly by adults other than their parents. Schools are the best child protection system we have; this safety umbrella is now closed.

The steep increase in domestic abuse will have sadly been witnessed by many less privileged children in their family confinement. As a result, they will be traumatised and scarred by scenes that will have an impact on their future behaviour.

The Daily Mirror reported that ‘Exhausted NHS nurses drink Red Bull and diabetic glucose shots on job in desperate attempt to stay awake’

The ‘celeb’ input has at least provided a chuckle. If you are size six, surgically enhanced and fat-lipped with caterpillar eyebrows then you can dance around your garden in gorgeous gowns to make us all feel. . . what? A picture of an exhausted nurse will move us to tears while the price of a celebrity dress would pay her salary for months. Who matters more? Who is valued the most?

The greedy and the selfish have been exposed for their indulgence. Vanity sometimes seems to be everywhere: desperate (mostly) women are obsessed by ‘my hair, my nails, my weight’. The pursuit of eternal youth and beauty never abates, even when simply emerging alive and well from this disaster will truly be the most beautiful outcome. For the vain, ‘me time’ has replaced ‘us time’. Thankfully, they are vastly outnumbered by the kind and the caring.

All in all, I sense a profound change of perspective. Gardens have never seemed so beautiful, the sunsets so glorious, the air so fresh and unpolluted. Or is it that we never before had time to appreciate them?

The ordinary and mundane have become special. A constant traveller all my life, my chosen journey right now would be neither Greek Island nor Tuscany but a simple walk to the village to meet friends for a drink.  Like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road, all I yearn for is to be found here!

We are currently a country in mourning, living in fear while yearning to get back to normal. Introspection is the first step: we have been made to focus on the plight of the poor and lonely and on the children at risk. Now is not the time to take risks by taking our finger off the pause button. If one needed inspiration, look to our young people helping us through the trauma by churning out their rainbow messages of love and hope.

We must pay them back by making their world a better place.


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