No easy way out

No easy way out

Saturday, April 04, 2020

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We have been hearing since it was first identified in Wuhan, China late last year that among the biggest challenges facing the world in relation to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is that the experts don't know enough about it.

They keep making discoveries and developing new theories as to how to cope.
So now we hear that the virus may well be suspended in the air we breathe normally, making it much easier to spread than was previously thought.

We feel for those on the front line, our health workers especially, who must fight through their fear and uncertainty to do their jobs.

The ever-changing information means official advice about the wearing of masks, for example, may well change. There is a strong emerging view that not just health workers and the sick but everyone should be wearing masks.

Inevitably, such information adds to the sense of extreme stress, depression, and despondency.

We note advice from former chief medical officer and current Opposition People's National Party (PNP) aspiring candidate for St Catherine East Central, psychiatrist Dr Winston De La Haye. He is urging the authorities to ready themselves for psychological fallout from COVID-19.

Few will argue with his suggestion that the situation is ripe for a rash of stress-related illnesses.

For many people, participation in recreational sport, including dominoes and card games, watching outdoor sporting events, bar entertainment, weekend parties, et al, have been their way of dealing with every-day stress.

Christians and followers of other religions know that shared worship in their holy places not only reaffirms faith but also relieves stress.

For now at least, regulations requiring social/physical distancing have put an end to all that.
This week, the police have felt compelled to come down hard on inner-city residents in Kingston — accustomed to hanging out on their street corners — who felt curfew restrictions should not apply to them.

For many people, television remains a saving grace. But for sports lovers that is also a source of frustration.

Addicted to live sporting entertainment on TV, many sports fans now find themselves having to make do with stale reruns as sporting events are cancelled or postponed.

Last week the much-anticipated Summer Olympic Games was postponed to next year. This week we heard news that Wimbledon — that iconic must-see on the global tennis calendar — has been cancelled for the first time since the Second World War.

It's now clear that the COVID-19 crisis will remain with us for months to come.
We know that sports administrators everywhere — hurting badly from lost revenue — are continuing to assess the feasibility of staging events, without spectators, to televised global audiences.

It's been done. Major competition, including UEFA Champions League football games, took place along those lines up to three weeks ago.

The big problem there is that as the COVID-19 rampage picked up speed it became apparent that spectators weren't the only ones at risk. Competitors, support staff, match officials were all in danger.

There really is no easy way out.

It seems we will all have to simply wait out this storm while seeking to support each other — materially, psychologically and emotionally — the best way we can.

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