28 Days Later…Sailing through the storm… Day 16

28 Days Later…Sailing through the storm… Day 16

As a cross genre author who dabbles in horror, the Coronavirus that has swept across the globe is reminiscent of so many horror tales that I have read. It feels like a work of fiction but it is very real. I drove to and from work today on half empty roads, knowing full well that in the days to come, things can only get worse. I was reminded of the opening scenes of 28 days Later and 16 days in from an Irish perspective, I dread to imagine what the next 12 days will hold.

In the cold light of what might very well be a new dawn for Irish society, we have been asked to look inside and already we have been found wanting. But don’t panic, we can redeem ourselves in the coming days.

Already in partial shutdown, the painful truth is that closing pubs and other establishments has quickly seen 140,000 people out of a job overnight. It is an horrific prospect with much more to come. To put this in perspective we have made 6% of our workforce unemployed overnight. Every industry will be hit with Ryanair and Aer Lingus, another 2 huge employers here about to pretty much shut up shop in the next week.

Small businesses are all tumbling one after the other and the reality of this is that people will directly and indirectly suffer as a consequence of the coronavirus. But that’s just the economic impact in the short term. We have yet to see the devastation in terms of our healthcare system and I can hear it creaking before the chaos even arrives. We already have 223 cases in 2 weeks with another 54 north of the border. The human tragedy has yet to unfold on this beautiful island of mine.

If this was 1970, we’d have to wait for the Evening Herald to give us an update, which would already be hours behind so we’d watch the evening news on RTE to hear the latest. After that, the next info would come on RTE radio in the morning. In a world of 24-hour news and a visceral desire for increasingly dramatic developments, we turn to social media instead, to be fed a long line of BS that is sometimes self-perpetuating.

In the days before the so called lockdown in Ireland, we watched video clips go viral showing people in other countries lamping seven different colours of sh*te out of each other over a packet of toilet rolls. What did we expect when our government announced things were about to get real? We are not immune to stupidity.

Now me, I am a man of simple tastes. I found no difficulty sourcing Champaign, caviar and oysters. I couldn’t see what the panic was all about. Latter as I sipped on my Dom Perignon, I noted a growing trepidation amongst my work colleagues. I believe it’s best described as twitterpation and twitterdation. Phone watching, constantly dragging the screen up to see if we missed a new tidbit of horrible news that might have been added to our feeds. People are such terrible voyeurs if the truth is not to be denied.

I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, as we watched the awful impact of the virus add statistic after statistic. Sadly behind each number is a death, a mourning, a dreadful painful loss for families and lives destroyed forever. How do we see past that to look for drama is beyond me. Loss is a drama we should not invite.

In recent days, we have had our first two fatalities in Ireland, the first two of who knows how many as the numbers begin to spiral. I’ve read and listened to people who should know better. As it happens we this crises hit following an election where parties are negotiating to go into power. To hear politicians like the Green party use it as an excuse not to go into a government doomed to failure, finally showing their true yellow underbelly when it comes to actually taking responsibility and governing, is sickening. I have no axe to grind but some things need saying.

I’ve seen the twitteridioti abuse those temporarily in charge with vile language and while I may not be a fan of any of the individuals politically, I doubt there is a single one, not trying their best in an unprecedented crisis. It is a situation where no matter who is in charge, they cannot do right for doing wrong.

It is a time that requires calm. We have it in spades here, all we have to do is remember who we are. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst and if you are so inclined, say a prayer. I know many people in my life may potentially be touched by what is about to come and many will find the touch of this sweeping darkness more than just inconsequential. I dare not – cannot imagine it will visit those that I love, for in such imaginings is an entirely different plague called fear. It is a time for courage, a time for action. In my heart I trust that in this little country, the place I call home, we will see the best in us when it matters most.

I once almost drowned trying to pull someone from the sea as a sandbank was washed out from beneath my feet. It is so terrifying to struggle beneath the briny, until your lungs ache and you can no longer hold back the desire to open your mouth. I recall the moment I finally breached the surface, only to be hit with a wave as I gulped for air, and I swallowed water as I was once again pushed back below the waves.

It is the fear that gets you. If you let it in, you panic and all is lost. I stayed calm. Three – four times I was submerged with such force that I really did question if I had the strength to carry on. But I had a purpose and that was my determination to save another. In such distraction we often discover that which helps us overcome fear.

I have no doubt heroes may rise as the tragedy unfolds before us. Instead of worrying if we are about to become the next China or Italy, we need to ask simply, what can I do? How can I help? I read somewhere that leaving China aside, the doubling rate, that is the rate at which infection spreads once it takes hold is 4 days. At the moment the infection rate is doubling here every 48 to 72 hours. Don’t do the math, it will frighten you. But often that’s the point of such data. Look for the blue sky not the clouds.

I grew up in this lovely little country, populated by kind sharing people. The cream will rise and we will survive. the same will apply no matter where you fight this challenge. Five years from now, we will look back on a piece of history, but in the meantime, be careful what you read, be careful what you share, be generous of spirit be brave and above all, calm the fup down and take each day as it comes. Don’t worry it holds no value. Be patient and remember that sometimes the only way to get past it,  is to go through it.  See you on the other side…

Haven’t read a Max Power book yet? I think it’s time to pick one up.
Max Power’s books include, Darkly Wood, Darkly Wood II The woman who never wore shoes, Larry Flynn, Bad Blood and Little Big Boy
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23 thoughts on “28 Days Later…Sailing through the storm… Day 16

      1. You must have been a first born son. I never felt particularly concerned 🙂 It’s got serious here. You need a signed attestation to be outside now. We have enough food for a week, two except for fresh fruit and bread, though the cats might have to fend for themselves…

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Wise words as ever, Patrick. I mentioned to the wife only two days ago that I couldn’t handle much more of the shite on the ‘news’. The media as ever are performing as expected with their pointless ‘interviews’ of the people of Bradford, Newcastle, Cambridge or …. wherever. If the experts are working towards solutions WTF point is there in asking some drip in an anorak on a high street how worried he is … a woman who doesn’t hear the question or a flippant young lass who says she’s not changing anything until it affects her? We did consider going to a couple of the people in our cul-de-sac to see if we could do something for them, and then it struck me–half of our small street is over 65 and I’m bloody 68 this year. 🙂 I asked the wife a few days ago how much we had in the fridge and freezer. ‘Enough for us not to go shopping for a fortnight.’ We’ve got half a dozen loo rolls, which is what we’d have anyway so with tea, coffee and running water we only have to maintain our sanity. How is that done? Try to select what is real in the news bulletins and not listen to the claptrap. As you’ve pointed out, mate, our greatest enemy in today’s society is selfishness, and it seems to be the one thing we have in excess. Positive thoughts coming to you and yours, Patrick.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So right Tom., this is indiscriminate.. so we must look out for each other as though those it touches are family.. we are nothing without community in such times☘️🎈be safe


  2. You’ve summed it up brilliantly, Patrick.
    We all need to be sensible and keep hold of our nerve – and our sense of humour- we’ll definitely be needing it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Patrick

    That’s the most sensible summing-up of the situation I’ve read, or heard.

    Here in the UK, Boris pops up each evening with two experts he consults and, for a politician, he talks sense, mostly. The damage is done when he takes questions from journalists intent on provoking a “newsworthy” response, which is when we have started to switch off the TV, and we’ve stopped watching The News for the same reason.

    You reached the truth after a logical weighing of the facts. The greatest thing we have to fear is fear. It’s demoralising, the root cause of panic buying, and discourages sensible behaviour.

    Thank you for one of your best-ever posts, which I propose to re-blog. My prayers are with you and your family, and all those I’ve “met” on the Internet.

    Love, Sarah xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sarah.. I think our government is doing ok so far .. but yesterday they gave us the cold truth that our health service estimate 15,000 cases be end of March .. tough times ahead but we will get through it hopefully unscathed.. stay safe Sarah .. weirdest St Patrick’s Day ever 🎈☘️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes – I agree… it seems like we’re living the horror nightmare… at least if that’s what we want to do.
    We’re also in Ireland – have seen for myself the empty shelves in Tesco – no eggs in Supervalu.
    Sad that people add their own selfish misery on top of the real threat!
    I keep daily track of the statistics – more to calm my family down than to see what is going on. I use this website https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
    I refresh a few times a day and also use a population pyramid site to check on age statistics. https://www.populationpyramid.net/ireland/2019/
    It becomes evident that the older the population the more the impact could be – hence the very high rates in Italy.
    I will note – I do not want to trivialise – I only use the stats to place perspective on all of this!
    On a slightly brighter note – two points – it seems a freely available malaria drug can work to stem the flow – hope is there! Also, a stat I heard last evening – it seems about 80% of the population may be naturally immune to the virus… more hope.
    Gosh – I’ve carried on a tad long – be good – stay well!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Don’t worry it holds no value. Be patient and remember that sometimes the only way to get past it, is to go through it. See you on the other side…”

    Wise words. In “normal” times, we have the illusion of control. We make plans and believe they will happen as designated. But we actually control nothing except our actions and reactions. Everything else is a roll of the dice. I say, do the day by day thing, stay connected with the people you love, help where you can, and remember that the great flu pandemic of 1918 ended. World War II ended. And remember the sage words of Winnie: If you’re going through hell, keep going.

    Stay well.

    Liked by 1 person

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