As the days of anti-virus lock-down drift into weeks and then months and the number of national fatalities grows by hundreds with every passing day the question Are you OK? becomes the new normal. Luckily our friends and family still are but there is that element of concern that one day our collective luck will run out.
So what are Grandads doing to fill their free time now that going out for leisure is off the agenda?
Judging by the queues at DIY stores there is plenty of catching up on home repairs and improvements in progress. While lots more have been boosting their domestic comms technology to contact everything from school lessons to government support schemes. And if the garden centres re-open (and if the public are allowed to visit) there will be a big boost in garden activity – perhaps with more grow your own fruit and veg efforts.
Additionally long neglected hobbies are being brought out of retirement to help fill the time spent in virtual house arrest. And status that could apply for all of 2020!
But to repeat the answer to that recurring key question – Yes we are still here …
Today the most important date in the Christian calendar seems to be played out in a sort of eerie silence – almost as if the whole population is waiting for some bombs to go off or some races to start.
Certainly in Rome the Easter ceremonies have been devoid of pilgrims and locals alike. A situation that may not have been experienced since before the reign of the Emperor Constantine one thousand seven hundred years ago. Even the Black Death and many plagues of the middle ages could not have such an impact on the attendance of the faithful.
Easter celebrations aside the ongoing restrictions mean that there is very little to report. Most Grandads have been limited to local travel for groceries and medicine – hardly newsworthy highlights. True our Prime Minister did have a brush with death but now seems to be on the road to recovery. And the Westminster Labour Party have appointed a new leader and shadow cabinet. Yet any chance of them being in power – or even a meaningful contributor – is years away at best.
As for that unseen enemy, the Covid-19 virus spread worldwide from Wuhan, it is still claiming a rapidly escalating victim count – and pushing many national economies to breaking point. There is little point in quoting today’s infection figures here as they are already widely published but it is worth wishing that we never experience the doomsday scenarios that some are predicting …
Two months ago at our first posting the Wuhan virus was a distant threat. Now it’s spreading all around the world; with Europe being the first directly impacted once the virus had left Asia.
Trying to keep up with the ever increasing counts of infections and deaths for make depressing reading – but for the record Italy has had at least 13,915 deaths, Spain 10,935 and the UK has now reached a total of 3,605 – officially. Sadly the figures for the USA seem set to dwarf those of Europe – and looking ahead much of Africa lacks the infrastructure to cope; especially if aid from developed countries is diverted into over-stretched health care services back home.
All the points about the financial impact have already been said – but the numbers just keep getting larger and larger. Businesses from the smallest trader to the mega corporation are facing complete collapse has virtually every sector outside of food, power and health care is shut down either by government order or by lack of customers. Everything from tourism to sport – pop concerts to voting – has been stopped. For example the mega-millions normally circulating in the world of TV broadcasting rights has evaporated. The Grand National, Wimbledon, even the Olympic Games will not happen until normality returns. If it ever does.
The year 2020 will be remembered for a long time – by the survivors …