When we first heard the news of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak back in December 2019, no one could have predicted the catastrophic effects it would have. In a matter of months, civilisation has been brought to its knees, society has been shaken to its core, and the enduring legacy of this epidemic can already be felt. Countries have gone into lockdown, borders have been closed, families have lost loved ones, human contact has all but ceased, and shops once filled with people are deserted as an eery calm has fallen upon the streets that were once full of laughter and commotion.
How we rise to the challenge is a question we are all asking ourselves as we fasten our seatbelt and prepare to venture into the unknown. With a potential threat of recession, economic meltdown, and many more deaths to come, the new world we enter might make us humble and reconsider the things in life that really matter to us, family, love, health and community.
In the midst of all this crisis, with fear and confusion sweeping the nation, our NHS has been thrown into a crisis of epidemic proportions, as it prepares to enter the unprecedented territory in the fight against Coronavirus.
With a shortage of staff, and a greater need for essential equipment, beds and doctors, the following few months will test the NHS to its limits, and with that, there has been a renewed appreciation for what our doctors and nurses do. How will the NHS cope? That is a question we are all asking ourselves with trepidation as we move towards uncharted territory.
As I stare out my window and watch families sending messages of comfort through glass windows, the realisation that we are living in unprecedented times hits the soul like a sudden stab of fire, a painful reminder, of how fragile we all are, and how quickly we can succumb to an unpredicted world. What once was considered not normal has now become the new normal, and right now we are just at the start of it. A quantum shift is taking place as we head towards a collision of unknown proportions that will change the very foundations of the world as we know it.
In what feels like times gone by a casual touch, a loving hug, and a polite conversation with a stranger, seems like a dream of a reality we once knew existed and had taken for granted. Social distancing has constrained us to our homes, physical contact is all but avoided, and we have had to retreat from the most primitive of needs that make us human, human contact.
As I stare out my window and see strangers leave shopping bags at the doors of the elderly, I can’t help but think this new world we enter, could be one that is kinder, more empathetic, with a greater appreciation of what it means to be human. We all face a common threat and one that has reminded us that we are all equal. This virus knows no borders, sees no colour, has no political alliances, and does not discriminate against the poor. Communities have come together to help support the vulnerable and elderly, families are spending time together like never before, and the Government has stepped up and provided financial help for its citizens.
However, not everything is roses and sunshine in this new world. The impact on mental health and the likelihood of domestic violence and suicide rates increasing could be on a scale that will be difficult to comprehend. The closure of businesses and how long it will take to recover from the lockdown could lead us to the worst economic crisis we have had in a long time. This year will be a difficult one for everyone, and a year that no one who has lived through it will forget anytime soon.
The scale of the crisis is just in its infancy, and what the future holds for us all is uncertain. What is for certain is the acknowledgement and thanks we all have towards the NHS and its staff. This crisis has shown us who the true heroes in society are. Not the Kim Kardashians of the world, not the rich and famous, but the doctors and nurses and everyone who is risking their lives to save ours.
As we leave our old way of life for the moment and reconsider who we are, and what we value, a revived humanity is hopefully upon us. The future may look bleak for the moment, and there are many things we are uncertain about, but one thing we know for sure is that it is unlikely, that life as we know it now, will ever be the same again.