Neighbourly Note

As fears around the COVID-19 pandemic intensify, the pressure on many of the systems we take for granted has intensified too. Social media is full of photos of supermarkets with empty shelves and reports of people fighting for supplies.

In a time of uncertainty and tension, the urge to look inward at our own immediate needs is understandable. But for me, this outbreak reveals with startling clarity how dependent we all are on each other. On a basic level we need other people to keep themselves as clean and healthy as possible if we’re going to stay clean and healthy ourselves.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been touched by the kindness of my friends and neighbours. Earlier today the couple upstairs sent me a message saying they realised that my care might be disrupted – offering to help out if needed. This simple message made a big difference to how anxious I felt about the disruption ahead.

COVID-19 is one threat, but we must not compound its damage by allowing selfish or discriminatory attitudes to thrive unchecked.

I strongly expect that we’re in it for the long haul and however essential people think all that toilet paper is, what’s certain is that community and solidarity will matter much more in the end.

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