Thursday, March 19, 2020

A queue outside a Waterford pharmacy where only two customers at a time are allowed in due to Covid-19. Photo: Joe Evans

ACROSS Waterford city and county never before seen levels of solidarity are emerging as our community unites against the now very present threat of Covid-19.

An insidious illness that can be passed on from people who look to all intents and purposes completely healthy, it is now the invisible agent in our midst that, unfortunately, will have devastating consequences for some among us.

Dr Mark Rowe didn’t mince his words when he spoke of this grim reality when he pleaded with the public to heed the government, the Department of health and the HSE’s call for social distancing of two metres.

We only have a few hundred ICU beds in this country. According to best case estimates 60,000 people will need access to this level of critical health care. So the only weapon in our arsenal is to slow Covid-19 down. We can’t stop it.

 

‘The eerie silence in Waterford city centre on Monday was not just the escalating fear in relation to the coronavirus, it was the quiet sound of action. Of people putting their compassion and care above their very real financial need and struggle.’

 

Businesses across Waterford are taking this seriously. There appears to be complete compliance with the government request for pub closures. Restaurants and cafes have followed suit. The eerie silence in Waterford city centre on Monday was not just the escalating fear in relation to the coronavirus, it was the quiet sound of action. Of people putting their compassion and care above their very real financial need and struggle. By shuttering up shop, people were doing their bit to contain the spread of Covid-19 – to their families, their staff members, and to the wider public.

Let’s hope that this is a once in a lifetime event, that in a few months we will emerge into the brighter summer when we can start to rebuild. For now, it is time to batten down the hatches. As has been light-heartedly said on social media – nobody is being called up to fight in an actual war. You are just being asked to stay home.

We have many ways to reach out now over social media – and already that is working to the good in the battle against Covid-19 as Waterford people rally to help the elderly and those most in need. The new grocery delivery is the one where family and friends drop essential items outside the front door or gate.

When you feel that all this is a bit much, step out into the garden or go for a walk. The world will continue to turn, the flowers continue to push up, the birds to start building their nests. This will be but a pause in the education of our children and our day-to-day working lives. We too will go on.

And remember when it might seem an inconvenience, that on the front line, in our hospitals and in our GP’s surgeries and pharmacies, people in our community – doctors, nurses, and many more – are literally putting their lives on the line, on our behalf.

Your social lives will wait. Together we will put the bricks of business back together. For now, though, be safe – for yourselves and for all of us. Take care Waterford.

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