Greenock Telegraph 27th March 2020

We are living through the most extraordinary of times. Our community has been required to make changes to minimise the harm that will fall upon it. And as the days and weeks go by we shall have to make more. In most crisis I would expect people to rally round and help each other. Some politicians have attempted to invoke the spirit of the blitz. I don’t think that’s appropriate for a number of reasons, but the comparison doesn’t stand scrutiny anyway. During the war, communities faced a common enemy for periods of the day or night and then rallied together to make the best of what they could. Even during air raids, the shelters became a place of community. But the solution to COVID-19 demands isolation. Many of us can’t risk mixing with older family members or those with underlying health conditions. It is prudent to keep all our human contact to an absolute minimum. The irony of that is while isolation will protect us from the virus and ensure our physical health, it can be bad for our mental health. Social media, which can be a curse at times, could turn out to be a blessing. Products that allow us to talk to and video people all over the globe are just as useful to talk to people much closer to home. Whereas before it may have seemed strange to Skype or Zoom somebody that lives on the same street as you or a friend that you know you will see later that week, now it is important that we do. Create your own wee digital community. It doesn’t need to be a long chat, just checking in to make sure someone is alright. A phone call or a text can make all the difference. We can help each other through the coming weeks and out of sight must not mean out of mind. Today and in the coming weeks, please wash your hands, only go out when necessary and keep in good health, physically and mentally. The tide will turn.