Day 21 – Sunday 5th April
End of week three in lockdown. This is the day I allow myself to read the latest stats for Spain and Madrid. The rest of the week I deliberately ignore them. There is the usual roll call of the dead: 12,418 in Spain and 4941 in Madrid. However this is my week of positives and the stats do seem to be complying with that. There are far more people cured than died 38,080 for Spain and 16,543 for Madrid, and this doesn’t include the numbers of people who have suffered the virus without the need for hospital treatment and survived. There is also evidence that the number of new cases has plateaued and the daily number of deaths seems to be reducing. We cannot know for sure for another week but appears we have hit the peak and hopefully have passed the worse. France and Italy are showing a similar trend.
That doesn’t mean we can be complacent. The downward curve to zero cases is a long one due to the time lag between being exposed to the virus, showing symptoms and a final cure or death. We’re not out of the woods yet, but definitely heading in the right direction. In line with this the Spanish government extended the quarantine for a further two weeks until April 26th. Legally they can only extend by two weeks at a time, which is a bit of a problem for some people. It’s like drip feeding bad news. The reaction amongst my friends and colleagues was mixed. Many, like myself were fully expecting this (I don’t personally think this will be done with before June), so we took it philosophically. We prefer to be safe than sorry. Others were noticeably down.
In the latter group there is a lot of worry about the long term effects of this lockdown. Some of these people are suffering economically or struggling to manage life in lockdown. There are also concerns about the effects on society, how we will all be changed by this experience. Again, whilst these concerns are valid, I personally see more positives than negatives. It is amazing how my friends who have suffered a loss of work income have rearranged their lives to bring in different income streams and all without leaving the house. The creativity and determination is wonderful to watch. I totally understand why they are down at the moment. It is difficult not to be when you are in the thick of it. But hopefully when we come out the other end they will be able to look back and realise just how incredibly well they coped and give themselves the pat on the back they deserve. If this doesn’t boost their confidence and let them see what truly resilient people they are, then I don’t know what will. Be proud of yourselves my friends.
Regards society, once more there is hope in our actions. You need to ignore the small percentage of people taking advantage or ignoring the rules. This is difficult, I know, as the news will insist on focusing on the negative, but the reality is there will always be idiots in the world. Fortunately they are a minority. The majority of people are cooperating and many are going out of their way to help others. The fact that I am aware of how each of my circle feels shows how much we have come together in this crisis. We are more in touch with each other than we have ever been. I have never felt closer to those I care about and I’m even beginning to know my neighbours more from the daily cheering sessions.
It is ironic that it has taken physical isolation to force us all to be socially more connected. It is the tonic Western society has needed for a long time. Shame it took a virus to make us all pay attention. I’m not trying to downplay the damage this quarantine will do to the economy and to the mental health of many, I know this is tough. But give some thoughts to the benefits that society is reaping and remember to give yourself credit for the part you are playing. None of us have control over life’s disasters. We are not God. We cannot stop earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis, viruses and the myriad of other natural phenomena that plague our world. We can only manage our own reactions and make sure we remain on the side of good.