The wet pubs are being given sympathy instead of financial compensation over their continued enforced closure, there are dire warnings about the growth of public health waiting lists, going on a foreign holiday is a sacrilege, and, thanks to the law of unintended consequences, you can’t even let the dog out into the garden on its own.
Everyone keeps saying we’re in a state of uncertainty. But that doesn’t begin to explain where we’re at.
I got an email from Aer Lingus offering me the chance to avail of a Green List Getaway flight for €39 to Greece, among other places. It arrived in my inbox around the same time as it emerged that there has been a surge in coronavirus cases there — Greece recorded 121 new cases on Tuesday, the highest daily number since late April.
The Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis has described the registered rise in infections as “worrying”. Total cases in Greece have now reached 4,855 and there have been 209 deaths. They’re concerned. Things have deteriorated so much that the Greek government has even announced a “wake-up week” on Covid-19.
Infections in Greece have risen to levels only last seen in April, with officials blaming overcrowding in night-clubs and at social events.
Eh, ring any bells, guys? Their figures are much lower than the figures in Ireland, of course, where we’ve had over 26,000 cases and more than 1,700 deaths, so we’re in no position to be pointing fingers.
All the same, they’re ramping up the warnings, so shouldn’t our government be doing something about the fact that our national airline is offering trips to Greece for less than half the price of a return train ticket from Cork to Dublin?
Mitsotakis declared that strict adherence to the rules was demanded to prevent a new significant rise in cases in August and the adoption of possible new restrictive measures which would hurt the economy and society.
It’s being speculated that this could all mean stricter social distancing and hygiene measures for holidaymakers arriving in Greece —such as those, perhaps arriving on €39 Aer Lingus flights from Dublin.
Things are moving too fast for my liking altogether and meanwhile Italy’s national civil aviation authority has threatened to suspend Ryanair’s permit to fly in the country over alleged non-compliance with coronavirus safety rules.
Ryanair has hit back, fast and hard, labelling the claims “factually incorrect” and insisting that it complied fully with all anti-virus measures set by the Italian government and was doing everything to protect its passengers’ health. Which I’m sure it is doing. But let’s face it. The accusations are embarrassing.
The problem is that all of this pandemic fallout stuff is starting to go on a bit too long. People are starting to get scared about sending their small children to school. There’s more talk about home-schooling than ever before, despite all the efforts going into making the schools safe.
Someone said to me recently that this “all in it together” thing is beginning to wear a bit thin. And it is. We’re starting to get tired from making the effort. Which, as NPHET will point out, is how the virus wins.
Part of the problem is the people who are continuing with life as usual. Their jobs are okay. Nobody they know has been infected or in any way affected. So maybe they’re not being as strict about obeying the social distancing regulations and the hygiene protocols as they could be. Maybe they’re not complying at all.
Then you have the people whose lives have been utterly decimated by Covid. Their jobs have gone. Their businesses have closed down, are in the process of falling apart or in the case of many pubs, not being allowed to re-open.
There are people whose mortgages are going into arrears. There are people whose debts are mounting. There are many who have lost loved ones to the virus.
I cannot imagine how these people must feel, looking at all of those who are still not complying with NPHET’s increasingly desperate warnings about the fact that we are now at a crucial phase, that Covid-19 cases are re-emerging at a significant rate, and that everyone must continue to avoid large crowds, physically distance, wear masks and wash their hands.
Only a week ago, Professor Philip Nolan, Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group warned that in just 48 hours Ireland moved from “a relatively stable epidemiology to a significant pattern connected to outbreaks” and that experts are beginning to see more cases which they can’t pinpoint to outbreaks or close contacts. Maybe this is because too many people are not reporting their symptoms. Too many who should be, are not self-isolating or respecting the protocols.
Maybe too many of us are forgetting about our own, individual responsibility to stop the resurgence of this virus. In other words, we’re not quite in the all-in-it-together mind-set anymore. And looking at the kind of carry on by some 200 teenagers in Kilkee last weekend, maybe some of us never were.