So… how was your month?!
As with all the other things life throws at us, it’s important to think about the learning we can take away with us. Many are obvious, such as the fact that a health system already stretched to the limit is woefully ill-prepared for the kind of issues something like Covid-19 presents. We were already short of beds and healthcare staff so when this is all over, one would sincerely hope that policy-makers and the powers-that-be will build some kind of preparatory capacity into our health system.
Even daily publications are having trouble keeping up with the news and at the time of writing, the number of confirmed cases and death toll continue to rise and people are starting to take ‘social isolation’ more seriously as we look on in horror at what’s going on in Italy.
But another aspect of this pandemic is fascinating, in a morbid kind of way. Within 60 minutes of Leo Varadkar’s now infamous announcement from the US, the Tesco Extra in Clarehall, Dublin — a gargantuan, soulless behemoth of a store that could comfortably house a Boeing 747 — was forced to pull the shutters down because of dangerous levels of overcrowding. Meanwhile, in Tesco Clearwater, Finglas, Dublin, people were literally fist-fighting each other for trolleys.
The baffling obsession with toilet tissue, of course, led to mass panic-buying and packs of nine toilet rolls being advertised on eBay for 35 euro. In my search for a lunchtime roll, I visited a local Centra, where the lady behind me stumbled her way to the till, her vision impaired by the stacks of toilet tissue she was carrying. No food there, so it was on to the nearby Spar. It had already run out of toilet paper — this time, the person behind me was visually impaired by the uncounted boxes of regular tissue paper she was hauling towards the counter.
One important learning point from all of this, from a cultural perspective, is that our society is only a few packs of three-ply away from anarchy and the breakdown of civilisation. May God help us all when the ‘big one’ hits, which it most assuredly someday will.