We are good in this country at holding our nerve and steadying one another.
But a pandemic is something else; you can’t touch the virus, see it or even know where it is. It may be spread by those who are not aware they are infected. It is very serious for some, very mild for many. Nevertheless, the effect of the virus could drive us apart. To some extent it must do. When someone we care for has it they must be isolated. That is particularly so for older people and the most vulnerable, the ones by whose bed we want to sit, and hold their hand, express our love with touch. As in epidemics throughout history the effects of this fear disturb us very deeply, and dread comes upon us.
All of us, now, face a common threat, COVID-19. The question is, how do we find hope in these difficult circumstances? Hope comes both from what we can do and who we are as a society.
We know that everything possible is being done to ensure that we can meet the challenge, in the country and across society. The struggle will bring with it many practical challenges, It may mean some very hard decisions have to be taken about who is treated, as in Italy where they have had to decide not to treat some patients. We must not be suspicious or indulge in conspiracy theories. Those who are leading our country are seeking the best advice and can be trusted to do all they can. Medical practitioners our Government can call upon are amongst the best anywhere in the world. They have no agenda other than the well-being and in good faith of all.
We are capable of bearing the truth. Honesty strengthens our hopes. We need to listen to the science and what WHO and the ministry of health (Kenya). Through listening we already know how to reduce the risk: washing our hands meticulously ; self-isolating even if we are not ill but have come into contact with the virus; resisting the temptation to panic buy. Above all we must look after one another, knowing that in an uncertain world with a new virus we are best protected with honesty, compassion and care.
We can find hope and courage in the goodly and wholesome spirit that is in so many ways common to all human beings, whether they are people of Faith or None.