As I left the office this evening, you would never have known we were in the midst of a pandemic.
The birds were singing happily and the air felt fresh, but with the hint of warm spring days to come.
Yet just a couple of hours ago, it was announced by the UK Government that people were to start avoiding going to pubs, theatres and restaurants, and to work from home where possible.
It was also announced at 6pm this evening that all grassroots football had been postponed for the foreseeable future with immediate effect. Having worked in football for close to 14 years, I’m all too aware of the impact this could have, not just on the industry, but the wider football community.
The last couple of weeks as Covid 19 (Coronavirus) started to spread throughout the UK, have been surreal.
Rightly or wrongly, I still keep shrugging it off. My brain tells me that yes, people are dying across the world, but people die every year from lots of viruses, including the flu. I guess what I can’t shrug off, is the rate at which Covid 19 seems to be spreading from one person to the next, and the fact that each day I wake up to more bad news.
It’s beginning to feel like we’re stuck in an apocalyptic zombie movie.
I’m not too worried about catching Covid 19 myself, but I do worry about my mum who has asthma, my brother who has cerebral palsy, my ageing Grandad, and Auntie’s and Uncle’s, as well as my cousin who has COPD.
Every time I have stepped inside the supremarked over the last 5 days, I’m overcome by a wave of anger and frustration. I’m not angry about the lack of provisions on the shelves (I like to think I’m creative enough in the kitchen to make something from nothing, or at least from very little), but I am angry about the stock piling.
Sadly we’re not all rich enough or living in properties big enough to stock pile! And don’t even get me started on the impact this is having on the elderly! They need our help more than ever right now, yet as a nation we are failing them, by buying volumes of food we just don’t need, leaving the vulnerable and elderly in a terrifying situation.
I’m not even trying to take the moral high ground here. I’m just trying to use some common sense. The supermarkets are refilling the shelves frequently, and if people just calmed down a bit, they would find that there are enough provisions for everyone.
As annoying and frustrating as Covid 19 is proving to be, we have to find ways to find positives from the crazy situation we find ourselves in.
Certainly from a business point of view, it gives our company an opportunity to modernise. For far too long, we have been heavily paper based, and still preferring face to face meetings to online alternatives. As we now enter what looks set to be a significant period of working from home, this gives us a great opportunity to reduce the amount of paper we use, and to move online for more processes. It also gives us an opportunity to get more of our customers using our online services, something we were looking to bring it later in the year, will potentially now be fast tracked.
It also gives other companies a great opportunity to do something different. My local garden centre for example, Battersea Flower Station, are offering to deliver plants to those who are self isolating, social distancing, or simply for those who do not wish to go out.
Online businesses will no doubt start to boom, as will supermarkets.
It also gives us an opportunity to help others. To help those who can’t get to the supermarket, as well as to help those who are struggling with crippling anxiety not helped by this god damn virus.
We already know that this virus is taking people’s lives, but let’s make sure that we come together, not just our local communities, but worldwide. Our entire population is suffering right now at the hands of Covid 19. If we unite together, use each other’s experience and expertise, we can combat this virus. And learn from it.
But it’s not all good news
First and foremost, we will lose loved ones. We don’t currently know how many people are at risk of catching Covid 19, or how many deaths there will be. But we are lucky enough to have one of the best health systems in the world, and for that we should be grateful for.
There are companies who will not survive this pandemic. Take my friends company for example. He’s a Director of a chain of conference facilities here in London. They have lost £1.2 million in cancellations over the last 2 weeks alone, and currently don’t know if they will be able to continue operating into May…
Even in football, a business which relies heavily on football being played, and currently no idea as to when we can expect games to be played again…we certainly have enough work to do in order to catch up on admin and filing from the season so far, but what then?
Who knows where this will all lead! What will happen to our health system? Our loved ones? Our businesses? Many of the pastimes we enjoy so much of, whether that’s eating out, going to the cinema, going to watch a football match, will they survive?
The truth is, we don’t know.
As much as it feels as though there is little opportunity to escape the news of this virus, we do need to continue to live our lives. It’s important that we don’t dwell on things too much, and that if we find ourselves in isolation, or even if we are social distancing, we still have an opportunity everyday to make the most of life.
It’s a great opportunity to catch up on all those tasks you’ve been putting off. Whether it’s that spring clean, life admin, catching up on those books you’ve been meaning to read, or perhaps journaling or blogging are more your thing.
It might also be an opportunity to reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with, or to take an online course.
How are you coping with self isolation or social distancing?
Are you working from home? If so, how are you coping with limited the time with people?
How have you been affected by Covid 19?