You have got to admit that 2020 has been a hell of a year already and we are barely into the second half.
Whilst the world rang in the New Year with celebrations a certain city named Wuhan located in Central China was seeing a rise in cases of people attending hospital with respiratory health issues and the Corona Virus aka Covid-19 soon became popular phrases in the press. Throughout January the numbers of infected people started growing rapidly and on 30 January, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern.
Italy was the first country outside of China where the cases of Covid-19 began increasing dramatically until by mid-March they had overtaken China with reported deaths. Country followed Country with national lockdowns imposed upon their citizens as cases of Covid-19 continued to spread.
In the UK, on March 23rd, Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the British people one simple instruction – You must stay at home. From that moment on the only reasons to leave home were for:
- Travel to and from work for key workers only.
- Shopping for basic necessities, but as infrequently as possible.
- Taking one form of exercise a day, alone or with members of your household, such as walking, running or cycling.
- Going to a medical appointment or providing care to a vulnerable person.
Instantly, with the exception of supermarkets and a few other shops that provided essential goods such as food and the bare necessities, the majority of shops and businesses were closed and quickly the government stepped in by covering up to 80% of the salaries for many people in order for them to stay at home. Meanwhile school children found themselves with what they thought at the time was an early start to the Easter break. Little did anyone realise at the time that they would lose an entire academic term.
The early weeks of the lockdown had some odd effects on people. For one, 2020 will be the year that will be remembered for the great toilet roll shortage. Supermarket isles were entirely empty of the soft paper tissue. For the brief moment that stores had a delivery of stock the shelves were cleared within minutes as people stockpiled whatever they could get their hands on. In some cases there are individuals with enough stock to last them into the next decade. But it wasn’t just toilet paper that vanished off the shelves at lightening speed, hand sanitiser and then soap quickly went. As for food items people were bulk buying pasta wherever the could get it.
At the time writing this post, mid-July, some normality has returned to people’s lives. Shops have reopened and businesses that closed are now trying to find their feet once more. However, it is now mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport and in shops and other public enclosed spaces. Bars and restaurants have recently reopened but social distancing is to be maintained. All very well if you are going out for a drink with a few friends but being able to stand and socialise with people at the bar is currently not permitted.
Whilst, we are now being told by the government that we can expect normality by Christmas – whatever that normality actually means since a term that has been regularly used over recent months is the new normal – at the same time we are being advised that the UK will be living with coronavirus for many years to come and experts are warning that even a vaccine is unlikely to eliminate it for good.
For now, there is no end in sight, the UK and in fact the rest of the world needs to see businesses reopen and people spending money in order for the economy to start growing again whilst at the same time preparing for an inevitable second wave of cases of Covid-19. If there is any certainty in what is happening at the moment then it is in the fact that its going to take time to recover and when it eventually does, whether good or bad, the world will be a different place for it.