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We can all play a part in the fight against this pandemic

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'We’re a resilient bunch, have come through national and personal challenges before.' Photo: PA

'We’re a resilient bunch, have come through national and personal challenges before.' Photo: PA

PA

'We’re a resilient bunch, have come through national and personal challenges before.' Photo: PA

We can all play a part in the fight against this pandemic

National cabin fever is forcing us, against medical advice, out of our homes, to the parks, beaches, hills and seafronts on our doorstep. I noticed it again earlier today… the look to the stranger. The automatic look to the other person, to make eye contact and in doing so, a connection.

Sometimes, it comes with a smile. When it does, I was surprised at how quickly a sense of warmth came with it. If we can do nothing else from a safe distance, a smile can be enough to reconnect us in some little way to one another. It’s a relief from a worried frown, respite. It’s a little reminder of other emotions we usually felt on a daily basis other than concern, hyper-vigilance and pulling back from each other, not allowing closeness of sorts.

It brings with it, too, a sense of recognition, “I’ve seen you, you’ve seen me”, so essential to preserve our sense of identity, which is being violated at the moment.

We’re a resilient bunch, have come through national and personal challenges before.

What’s different this time is that we are all in the same boat. The cheerleader needs to find their own cheerleader.

What’s the essential tool in the toolkit? Our sense of humour. Avoidance is a well-known defence mechanism, that vital survival mechanism which keeps us safe at times of danger. In this instance, I don’t think it’s as simple as us avoiding anything. I honestly believe we have a unique gift in this country, to find a chink of light, even in the darkest of times.

It’s a welcome relief, a lightness which serves as a perfect balance to the weight of the fear, pain, uncertainty and sadness which is hanging in the air. Now if only the telecoms providers could cancel their charges for mobile data this month, that’d be great!

I still can’t get my head around the magnitude of the impact of all this but I believe that’s OK. Maybe we’re not meant to fully understand the short and long-term implications for us of a global pandemic. The scars of the most recent financial pandemic of a crash are still sorely felt today.

There was some accountability for that, some organisations, financial and banking policy makers were brought to task and the rest of us have lived with the consequences and paid for it ever since.

This is different.

Thankfully, what makes this different is that while no one person, organisation or policy is to blame, in being accountable for our own behaviours and actions now, each one of us is more in control of this global uncertainty than anything ever before.

Powerlessness doesn’t come into it whatsoever. We are fully in control of what we do to turn the tide of this.

That’s a nice thought to hold on to.

Jo-Anne Sexton

Donnycarney, Dublin 9

 

Biggest lesson from Covid-19 is importance of good hygiene

THEORETICALLY we will be a much healthier people when we eventually conquer Covid-19 if we continue present-day hygiene.

Yes we have had other serious crises such

as the Spanish flu, TB, polio and Aids but Covid-19 has made most people realise how diseases are spread and especially the importance of regular hand washing to remove infection picked up from infected surfaces or poor bathroom hygiene.

If we continue to take hygiene seriously we could reduce the amount of common hand-transmitted diseases such as salmonella, norovirus (24-hour stomach bug), rotavirus, hepatitis A, the common cold and influenza.

Amazingly, 10pc of patients in hospital contract serious infections due to poor hand-washing hygiene by staff.

The list goes on. A lot of these are common diseases seen every day in a GP practice but, like Covid-19, they can kill susceptible people.

So if there is one major ongoing lesson to be learned from this deadly disease, it is continuous and regular hand washing.

Dr Aidan Hampson

Artane, Dublin

 

FG must ditch its divisive stance in this time of crisis

AS THE coronavirus sweeps over us, many citizens are desperate to park their distrust of the current political leadership. That effort is not helped by the headline, “Varadkar open to unity government without SF”. Apart from appearing not to understand what a “unity government” is, it is simply outrageous that in the teeth of a crisis our Taoiseach sees nothing wrong with the formation of an agreed government that would exclude the 540,000 citizens who gave their first preference vote to Sinn Féin last month.

Fine Gael’s inherent proclivity for divisive “them and us” politics seems alive and well despite the grave challenges the country now faces.

For all our sakes, Fine Gael must ditch the ideology. We all live together in the same house that is now on fire. Let us have a government that reflects that to steer us through this emergency.

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo

Irish Independent