I've been hesitant to write anything about the novel coronavirus - 'COVID-19' currently sweeping the globe - with frankly alarming facts and figures - especially in places like Italy who are suffering a massive loss. I know the basic science - but I'm certainly no expert, so lets leave that to them...
I think it's going to take some time before we really know the full details and impact of this virus - and as I say - think we should leave this to the experts and scientists as much as possible - trying to keep politics out of our response. This is and will become a large socio-economic problem with no doubt a large political impact - but for now I think we need to let scientists do their jobs and follow their advice.
From what I can tell - preventative methods such as the social restriction we see in place are likely going to last some time but as a practiced hermit I'm personally not suffering too much - but am looking forward to a trip to the pub again though!
However now on to my main point - if nothing else - this has certainly given me a renewed and strengthened respect for 'key workers'. From the postmen and delivery drivers continuing to maintain our vital logistics networks through to the NHS workers (doctors, nurses and cleaners alike) battling on the frontlines of an unprecedented and potentially deadly infection. Not to mentioned the Armed Forces - be it Army, Navy or the RAF once again proving they are always ready to step up to the plate in times of crisis.
I think it's easy for office types like myself to forget the often unseen contributions these 'key workers' make to not only the economy - but our individual lives on a daily basis. Seeing them continue to work despite the current climate is inspiring to say the least.
So when this is all over - what say next time we're back down the pub - let's all buy a drink for the nurse, refuse collector, postman or solider waiting to your left or right? I certainly think they've earned it.
Update - after posting this on Facebook I received a comment from an old friend who raised I valid point - and hopefully my answer sheds some light on my own opinion -
My friend - "Probably deserve a pay-rise too don't they?? I've always thought the wage discrepancy between 'essential' vs. non essential jobs quite absurd"
Me - "A bonus for sure and certainly another look at the minimum wage and zero hour contracts.
The measures introduced by the government will be expensive so to say the least so I foresee so tax rises once this is all dealt with - hopefully targeting those who can most afford it.
Strange for me to say as someone typically right wing! But when you look at something like a celebrity wage or top CEO vs the people out on the frontlines- surely something needs to be addressed.
I don’t know about you but it certainly makes me revaluate the contribution I make too!"
I've never been one for excessive taxation and I'm typically pretty right leaning when it comes to most things - but as per my answer above - the current crisis only highlights the undeniable wealth divide in the country - yet how reliant we are on those who get paid less.
The wealthy can fall back on savings, those like myself and luckily carry on working from the comfort of home - but those often paid the least are the ones who are taking the risk and at the end of the day - helping to save lives. Be in the healthcare workers treating those infected to the often unseen key workers who help keep the cogs of our country turning.