By Rachel Garvey
The Irish Republic seemed okay, but still remained sympathetic with the coronavirus being in China, Italy and Spain. When it reached the United Kingdom, panic started to arise. Yes, everyone is well aware that the United Kingdom is neighbour to our country of green and Irish craic, but there were a lot of people in denial that the coronavirus would be contained there and that Ireland wouldn’t be affected, but they were in denial for the wrong reasons. The Coronavirus can’t be controlled by us, the people on this earth. No matter how many safety guidelines we are recommended to follow, it still doesn’t mean that it will all work to keep us safe in the end. I really don’t mean to scare anyone because people are already panicking, but we need to talk about what everyone is thinking and not saying out loud.
I have seen first-hand how people are panicking, now that the coronavirus has started to spread its fingers throughout the country, with confirmed cases of people having the virus and a school in Dublin being shut down for two weeks. I’ve seen it in work, with numerous customers asking the same question over and over; the question of “Excuse me, Miss, where’s the hand sanitiser?”. I know too well what my answer will be, because I know for a fact that the shelves in that section of health and beauty for that product are empty and that a delivery is on the way, that the shelves will be restocked in the next few days. However, is hand sanitiser really going to protect us? The second that people heard that Ireland had been invaded by the coronavirus, the public didn’t take too well to the news and they started to panic. I’ve heard reports of hand sanitisers, as previously mentioned in the shop I work in, being grabbed from the shelves as well as masks being sold out in pharmacies all across Ireland. I think people like to think that they’ll find comfort in buying antibacterial things, that it will be their saviour from the virus.
Fair enough, the coronavirus is here, but we shouldn’t panic to the stage where we are cautious of every little thing we do or every person we bump into. Take, for example, I was in work the last day and as I was cutting open the plastic encasing the bags of flour, I accidentally burst a bag open and the dust caught in my throat and I coughed on impulse. I have never ever had a customer step away from me so quickly and I felt ashamed then. It’s as if I was contaminated with the virus, when in truth, it was all because of a busted bag of flour. People need to stop making unnecessary assumptions and jumping to conclusions because it’s those unnecessary assumptions that cause more panic and chaos, and more panic is something Ireland doesn’t need. We must take it upon ourselves to protect our health by staying healthy and our immune systems strong and if that means covering up even more on a cold day, eating more healthy foods or drenching everything in antibacterial spray, then so be it, but don’t exceed the limit where paranoia sets in and gets to a stage that is unhealthy. To share one of our most used Irish phrases “It’ll be grand”, and it will be okay as long as people keep themselves in line, the last thing we want is letting the coronavirus dictate what we can and can’t do.