In the time of COVID-19 ….

By Sue Saunders

If the restrictions go on for a long time, will our way of living change?

Life disrupted with staying at home, social distancing, constant hand washing, no public gatherings and probably an unconscious worry “am I to be the next poor victim?”  However, the population in general has become acutely aware of the need for healthy habits.  Will that result in less instances of the common cold this year?  More people are likely to have ‘flu injections.  One would surmise that there may be less downtime or even deaths from the ‘flu.  

Have you noticed that the CBD air is so much fresher and cleaner since the reduction in traffic?  If you live in high rise, you can now see forever it seems.  Of course, Melbourne weather in April is usually just wonderful.  The weather doesn’t know about the virus.

Many people are working from home.  It is much more comfortable to work from home if your profession allows for it.  With online collaboration – video and screen share, home working can be most productive.  Take away the commute and there is a lot more time for family and the kids.  Possibly, more time for work too.  Could the aftermath of COVID-19 be that our way of working changes?  It may be possible to do away with the concept of 9-5 and integrate work with general life, centred around home and family?

In your world, have you noticed that you are communicating with friends and family much more through social media than before? Maybe, that will become an increasing trend too.

Children are staying at home.  Some parents have said that they are getting to know their children a lot better as they are having to spend more time with them.  Children are communicating with their friends online.  They play collaboratively online.  The ones I know, do not seem to be fazed by the lack of interaction in real life.  

However, it may be quite hard on parents to do home schooling especially when their jobs require them to be away from home.  Teaching is a specialist skill and many parents will be ill-equipped to cope.  Maybe online teaching like Australia’s famous “School of the Air” will work?  That will take some time to organise and is not ideal.  Our children’s education is really important, and this is a dilemma that at the time of writing, does not have a satisfactory solution.

All is not lost, however.  Human beings have an enormous capacity to adapt.  For example, our local coffee shop, Postal Hall, has become a mini-grocer overnight, with not only essentials such as eggs, milk, bread and cheese, but some gourmet items and delicious take-away meals.  Special fish and chips on Friday night, to take back to your cosy apartment together with the famous Melbourne coffee or other beverages.

Australia Post are noting extra deliveries to their convenient parcel lockers.  More buy-online is happening.  Maybe these new ways of working will become the norm?  Physical stores will continue to re-do how they present their wares in the time of COVID-19.

Right now, we have an “infodemic” of COVID-19 news and thoughts to the exclusion of all else.  For some time, CBD residents will need to learn to live with the problem.  

Think social distancing measures becoming even more widespread.  We are going to need more and faster testing for the virus.  Smart phone alerts that identify hotspots to avoid.  Sanitisers mounted on telegraph poles and in shops for general use. 

This virus does not yet realise, that we humans are much more resilient and inventive than it thinks.  We will win this war! •

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