You can change your own behaviour; you can’t change other people’s behaviour.
The best thing anyone can do is to assume they have the virus – even if they don’t have symptoms – and then act accordingly: socially distance yourself, wash hands, wear gloves in public to stop you touching your own face and to stop your skin touching public hard surfaces, shared handrails and door handles on which the virus can survive for up to three days.
It is hard to change, but it is possible.
It takes some leadership to bring this to networks of friends and family. It is feeling strange not embracing my kids, grandchild or friends when meeting them and keeping a two-metre distance between us — but once one person does it, uses the elbow bump for example, it is easier for others to do the same and follow suit.
The virus sticks easily to your skin and a rinse with water doesn’t remove it. Remember, soap works by breaking the weakest link of the virus, the lipid (fatty) bilayer in its structure. Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart, no longer active.
Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin
Now is the time to go into lockdown to save lives
There is good reason to believe if the country was to go into lockdown now, rather than when the number of infected citizens becomes very large, many lives could be saved. A short paper just published by authors Chen, Taleb and Bar-Yam from the New England Complex Systems Institute and the School of Engineering at New York University states: “Since lockdowns result in exponentially decreasing numbers of cases, a comparatively short amount of time can be sufficient to achieve pathogen extinction, after which relaxing restrictions can be done without resurgence.”
There really is no time to waste.
Lismore, Co Waterford
Financial changes needed to save our small businesses
The top economic priority now should be the domestic economy. Shops, restaurants, pubs and so on, forced to close because of the virus crisis, can’t be expected to keep paying staff and remain closed at the same time.
Many of these small businesses do not have the resources to do this.
Remember the financial crisis? The politicians were very quick to divert €65bn of taxpayers’ money to the banks who lent recklessly. Tax returns will have to be deferred or even cancelled completely.
AIB and Bank of Ireland are allowed to write off losses incurred during the crash against tax. The same deal must be extended to small businesses or there will be economic carnage on a massive scale.
The irony here is that the State is presently fighting a case in the European Court not to collect €13bn in taxes owed by Apple.
How will all these measures for small businesses be paid for? Annual payments of €6bn-€8bn to Frankfurt for the so-called bailout will have to be reduced or cancelled.
Friars Walk, Cork
Austerity measures are no use to those in real need
In times of trepidation, one of the most important things we can do is to think of the less fortunate and impoverished among us – those in receipt of Universal Credit, the homeless, the vulnerable, the infirm and the elderly.
Politicians in the UK and Ireland have championed a manifesto of austerity that has adversely affected every walk of life and plunged the country deeper into knife crimes, housing shortages, long healthcare waiting times, child poverty and food banks.
This is a very particular moment in time when government must reveal its true character and work relentlessly for the welfare of its populace.
Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob
Common sense to the Max – remember, it’s only a game
As I peruse the columns of hand-wringing, brow-beating and near self-flagellation regarding the unfinished conferences, leagues, championships and cups of all our codes, I am reminded of a story the inimitable Max Boyce told back in the 1970s.
Wales had recorded, in those times, a rare away victory against France, perhaps even in the old Stade Colombes, and the jubilant, singing Welsh fans were on their happy way home.
At the airport, however, they were caught up in a firefight between terrorists and the French authorities.
During a lull in the shooting and explosions, Dai put his head above the back of the seat and shouted out: “It’s only a game boys!”
Patrick A Farrell
Maynooth, Co Kildare