Wed. Apr 8th, 2020

IW Observer

The FREE Isle of Wight Newspaper

We need to support each other

3 min read

‘Previous generations had to go to war, we’re being asked to sit on the sofa’

A murder of crows, a kettle of vultures, but who knew that humans were a herd? In these extraordinary times, the Government’s health experts tell us we need to develop ‘herd immunity’ to be protected, and the only way to do that is for lots of us to catch the virus and recover.
It’s been a very long week; I fluctuated between anxiety, irritation and bottom lip wobbling. If I were in charge, social media would have been shut down and replaced by some kind of Ministry of Information. I’ve had chest pains, a headache, twinges and a snotty nose, my hypochondria seems out of control, although I do think I’m still in good health. On Wednesday my GP gave me some very good news, my cholesterol is great, and the death toll will be much lower than predicted.
Did you know trees support each other in drought? I learned this when I visited the Giant Redwood trees in California and Oregon last year. Some trees are over 2,000 years old, these amazing, beautiful giant forests survived so long because through their root network, they share water and nutrients with their neighbours. We must do the same, not just leave it to the Government and politicians, remember the over 70s and the Food Bank when you shop.
Be careful what you wish for is advice as old as time. Go-on, own-up, last year you wished everyone would just shut-up and stop talking about Brexit, didn’t you? Little did we know then that so soon those would become ‘the good old days.’ As we grow accustomed to the sight of people in face masks and stripped-bare supermarket shelves, it’s apparent that life as we knew it is temporarily suspended.
But humans are social creatures; we like to interact with each other. Yes, we could sit at home alone, consuming panic bought pasta and canned food for a while, but sooner or later the majority of us will want to get out and see friends and family. We love going to cafés, restaurants, pubs, theatres or concerts. I love my family dearly, but after a few days of close confinement, usually at Christmas, we all need a break from each other.
As I write, mercifully people here don’t seem to be ‘dropping like flies,’ official figures say the number of confirmed sufferers on the Island doubled, from one to two, now possibly three but one of those is already better. All the people I know who are sick have the usual colds or some other issue. This week one poor soul in my immediate orbit announced she had a ‘sore throat’ and summoned the Doctor. We all waited anxiously, until the Doc’ triumphantly diagnosed tonsillitis.
That’s not to say the old corona isn’t quietly running rife, we must have an abundance of caution, but as I noted last week, this isn’t the first time we’ve been threatened with something horrid that didn’t manifest itself quite as expected. The World Health Organisation has a history of doom-mongering, it’s rightly what they do best.
My old mother is well into her 80s and no longer fully fit, but like others of her generation she’s a tough old bird. ‘Bring it on’ she told me, before self-isolating. As one popular social media post puts it, ‘Previous generations had to go to war, we’re being asked to sit on the sofa’. She used to tell me the story of the boy who cried ‘Wolf!’ so I remain optimistic. That said, I’ll hedge my bets and leave it until nearer the time to buy her Christmas present.