#COVID19 Pandemic: When “I’m just a Cashier” became a Keyworker

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The changes in Ireland, Europe, actually worldwide makes me think of some of my favourite disaster movies.  Contagion was a firm favourite for a long time.  However, the world is somewhat different from when that initially came out.  It was escapism then when I watched that.  Never in my dreams did I think I would actually see one in my lifetime.  I never imagined a lot of things in fairness.

The Last 10 Years

It feels like my world back in 2011 to today is so far removed from what I thought was ever possible.  With a worldwide recession first, ISIS coming into the news and subsequent attacks and whole communities and cities fleeing to other countries.  Do you remember overwhelmed dinghies and young children dying on beaches?  Then of course Climate Change coming to the fore with a 15 year girl old challenging the establishment and then finally a worldwide pandemic.  You could never have guessed any of that was going to happen?

Now we’re in this pandemic everything again has also changed.  I remember thinking years ago when I was a cashier in a petrol station, that it was just a transition job.  Something to do until I got a proper job.  Now cashiers in supermarkets all over the world are placed on a pedestal.  They’re applauded and thanked for continuing to come in every day and help feed their respective nations.

There is of course plenty of acclaim for the usual people who are saving lives.  We all think of the Doctors, Nurses, Care Assistants and of course kitchen staff and cleaners in hospitals and health centres.  #clapforhse #clapfornhs (I am British).

We all should raise a glass to those that continue to help us have some sense of normality.  I notice I’m still getting post?  I can walk to the local shop and still get milk.  Although soooo many businesses are shuttering their doors this week and will continue to do so over the coming weeks, we still heavily rely on actually, physically seeing a lot of people.

Let’s not forget all the exhausted delivery drivers and warehouse people sorting out our food and electrical items as well.  Indeed, anything at all that we are all collectively trying to have delivered to avoid going out.

A Change of Mindset

I had to slip into my office for the first time in 7 days recently, mainly to get some blogs done!  On the way in I paid for my parking and touched with my bare hands the button to pay for it.  I immediately regretted not bringing hand sanitiser.  Something that frankly only a week ago I wouldn’t have given a second thought too.  I gingerly returned to my car and tried to limit handling the keys and car door.  It was hard not to touch handles on the way into the office either.  I headed straight to the kitchen and then washed my hands.  I’m neurotic and afraid and its not what I thought 2020 would be like at all.

Since starting this blog I’ve heard there is someone in Mullingar, Westmeath (where I live) had been walking around the town and going into shops when they should be in isolation!  All I can think of right now is how selfish they are.  They may have it mildly I suppose but they have been confirmed with it.  No one has been named publicly, that I’ve seen anyway, I suppose it could be “fake news” as well?  No one knows what to believe these days.

Obviously we want to follow the trusted websites but in this age of Social Media, hearsay does swamp social platforms and sway minds.  The adage “there is no smoke without fire” does cross my mind.  Maybe I’m also too trusting and also think, why would people lie about such a thing at this time?

In the News

The news is so confusing at the moment and there’s a mixed bag of messages being sent out to different countries citizens.

Some countries have been in Lockdown for weeks (Italy), some just starting (UK and India) and only yesterday Republic of Ireland decided to “reduce movement”.  Whilst other countries fear that the country closing down for longer than 15 days and its economic status is more important than lives (US).  Still waiting to see what happens there, who knows??

Regardless of all these issues, the Keyworker, the frontline staff of this virus; in this worldwide pandemic has become the face of this truly historical era.

Time and Innovation

I say “era” rather than time, as there’s no getting away from the fact that there is going to be months and potentially years of economic, medical and political change and upheaval from this. I’m no economist but I would imagine a stark recession will come from this. I foresee all the points scored and lost in governments round the world will be debated again and again.

Medically though, we have seen innovation unlike at any other time of my life.  Distilleries have changed production to supply hospitals, Medtronic double production of ventilators, and even the small business has waded in with 3D printing of valves.

Now we have surpassed the 614,400 infected people worldwide (that we know of) and over 28,200 deaths attributed to #COVID19. Life has changed for ever in our generation.  My children are old enough to remember all of this.  Let’s hope all those in power remember this for future lessons too.

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