It’s incredible how quickly something becomes the new normal. Crossing the street to avoid people when you leave the house for a little exercise. An amount of handwashing that would previously have seen ludicrously over the top. Trying to work during normal days, with a six-year-old running around the housing wanting to do everything, or nothing that you suggest at all. We started a tradition today of clapping him at weekends for coping with it all.

The shutdown is scheduled to end in just over a week, but I don’t think anyone in their right minds thinks it will. In fact, we were meant to fly to Scotland in four days time for an extended Easter holiday in the Highlands, what would have been an absolutely unprecedented second trip in just over a month, an amount of travel that’s completely out of the norm for us. It seems alien now; the flights have already been cancelled for weeks.

The corona numbers are through the roof. Closing in on 1.5 million cases worldwide, with the US now with an astonishing one third of a million in its own right. Deaths are creeping towards 70,000. Ireland still seems to be under relative control, in that the numbers are rising at or below 10% a day, and our intensive care units aren’t overrun. Yet. But it is a weird, anxious time, not helped by the riddles of silly conspiracy theories and misinformation that seem to be a feature of life now.

Anxiety, in fact, has really crept into it for me. It comes and goes in unpredictable patterns. Some days I wake up wildly enthusiastic about another day with family, making the house nicer, and getting in a bit of real work around things. Other days, it feels like the apocalypse and I barely function.

It’s very hard to imagine things will return to normal after this, at least totally. That sounds ludicrous after less than a month of serious considerations of the virus in Ireland, but jobs won’t come flooding back immediately, and I think people are starting to think differently, too. There might be real societal change as a consequence of coronavirus, and in some ways, it would be a shame if it doesn’t happen. Environmental consequences may as well be tackled, too, at a time like this.

I haven’t left the area immediately within reach of our house, apart from a quick trip in the car to a safer supermarket a ten-minute drive away, since the shutdown. We’ve kept up exercise, tried to find things to keep us going outside of work, and not to spend too much time in front of screens. Going into the city centre seems completely unfathomable at the moment, although it’s only a 15-minute walk to the middle of Dublin.

We have no symptoms, and everyone we know closely seems to be doing quite well, all things considered, though I heard of someone very local being reall quite ill recently, and the numbers have become unimaginably high and are taking a mental toll.

There’s little to do, really, except sit things out as far as possible and be grateful that it’s an option to do so. Dark days.


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