I probably won’t be writing much in the way of Tea Time for a little while. As we can see, from the moment we switch on our televisions, scroll through social media, or look at the BBC News app, there is no news, so to speak of, except for that which pertains to COVID-19.
Understandably, it is all that is on everyone’s minds both out of fear, concern for loved ones and the fear of a prolonged confinement
I personally have nothing to add to this global discussion. I know of a few friends who have had it, and I’m praying for them all. And as we know, this is not a situation that is affecting only a select group of the population but the entire world. So it is the duty of all who wish to see an end to the pain, fear, struggle and death to keep an eye on the news to understand its progression.
But – I always have a but- it must not consume us. Being consumed by the constant reiteration of how dire the situation is, is what causes: panic buying; causes NHS workers to have their badges stolen from around their necks; causes selfishness, and generally just brings forth the worst part of human nature at a time when we should only be exhibiting our best.
So while you are keeping an eye on BBC, and the constant stream of updates about COVID-19 let us also remember that for many people and even those who may have the virus, the rest of their life has not stopped. People are still falling in love, people are still falling pregnant, having children, raising children, learning, wishing, creating goals, planning, studying, working, organising, and hurting. And while these stories are no longer at the centre of global affairs, they are still at the heart of these peoples’ lives. And what is being disregarded by the larger media companies is still very important to individuals who are trying to juggle the fear of a pandemic as well as their personal ups and downs. So, when talking to people, try not to focus entirely on the virus. COVID-19 will one day dissipate and what we don’t want is for the virus to clear and reveal upsetting news about those we care about.
A friend of mine recently had a brush with the NHS for reasons that were unrelated to the disease, and it was almost impossible for her to get anyone on the 999 call to respond because the virus was all they were focused on. And while this focus is of course expected, people will continue to be diagnosed with cancer, to have miscarriages, heart attacks, become homeless, fail university assignments, get married and get divorced. We can’t turn a blind eye to these events simply because they are not newsworthy at the moment. And what we shouldn’t do is ignore all these other important events until the virus is over, because then it might be too late.
I am not saying disregard Covid-19. We must all try to follow the new regulations put in place to lift this pandemic. But I am also saying that, as part of our shared humanity, we need to keep an eye out for those, both around you, and online, who may be struggling with things that the rest of the world has deemed insignificant.