A Firstline Securities Limited Blog from our Risk Manager in London
In the first of a series on Coronavirus and its impacts, we examine the ways in which this novel disease is affecting our relationships with one another. It may seem that it is driving us apart, but it really isn’t.
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It seems that Coronavirus is driving us apart.
Workplaces are closing and people are working remotely from home, bars and restaurants are closed, sports events domestically and internationally are cancelled.
In just one week we have seen the suspension of major golf and tennis tournaments; a delay to the start of the Formula 1 season; cancellation of European and domestic football: all at a time when Liverpool seemed poised to win the Premier League for the first time in years.
Even Bruce Springsteen has cancelled tour dates as a result of the coronavirus – and I always thought no one could ever silence “The Boss”.
Domestically we are told to stay at home. No fetes nor social gatherings.
In Italy – a country ravaged by the Coronavirus – social isolation and social distancing is enforced by the force of law and at gun point.
Social isolation and social distancing are frustrating and confusing concepts. They go against everything we are.
Continental Europe – the bit that doesn’t include the United Kingdom – is a classic case in point. To the people of France, Spain and Italy “social distancing” is THE classic Oxymoron. Walking arm in arm, greeting one another with a kiss on each cheek are deeply engrained into their cultures. Social distancing – keeping two metres apart – just doesn’t seem European. It isn’t Trinidadian either is it?
Many of you may feel isolated and confused. If that’s you, then you’re not alone. That’s an international phenomenon and reflects the availability of information across nations. The messages we receive from governments and medical authorities haven’t been consistent and appear conflicted to the extent that the official advice in one country is often wildly different to the advice issued in another.
In the absence of unconflicted advice some are even turning to fiction for guidance or perhaps for assurance that we will simply prevail. How else can you explain the climb of the French writer Albert Camus excellent 1947 novel “The Plague” onto Amazon’s current bestseller list?
So, on the face of it, the Coronavirus will push us further apart from one another.
But I think that’s an illusion.
All the small decisions we now focus on many times a day – repeatedly washing and sanitising our hands, not going out if we have one or more of the symptoms of the virus, adjusting how close we stand in proximity to one another, shopping for an elderly neighbour who is in a high risk category, and the mystery lady I encountered in a late night walk yesterday (more of which I will say on below) – are actually signs that we are closer than we ever been. Sacrifices are ultimately the greatest gift of consideration we can give to one another.
Yes, there have been scenes of selfishness. Mass buying of toilet paper is man at his worst (unless there is some unknown study the writer is not aware of advising people to wrap their bodies in toilet paper to act as a shield to protect the wrapped person from the virus). Labelling the coronavirus as a “Chinese Virus” is another.
But there are surely many more acts of selflessness of which the above are all examples. Some are conscious and some are unconscious, but they are all examples of us coming together.
The United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, said on television a few nights ago that he knows our society will respond to the coronavirus pandemic with “extraordinary outbreaks of altruism.” That’s often said to be the “British Way” but it really isn’t as simple or as narrow as that.
It’s the “Human Way.”
I promised to return to the mystery lady I encountered on a late-night walk yesterday evening.
Walking home from the park, and about a half a mile from home, I look up to see a lady walking on the path towards me. As we got to 5 metres or so apart, she turned abruptly 45% and walked around me in a half square maintaining at least 5 metres distance between us. Social distancing at its best!
An act of self-preservation maybe but I prefer to think of it as a selfless act of consideration and kindness. Thank you, mystery lady.
Of this I am convinced – Coronavirus will not prevail. We are together and we will prevail.
OUR MESSAGE TO YOU IS THIS:
We want you all to know that we are still here.
Many of us are working remotely from home but we are in regular contact with one another and always available to our clients (Click here for our contact information). We aim to keep you informed with regular blog entries moving forward as we come together to defeat this virus. We look forward to and welcome your questions.
Stay in contact, look after yourselves and one another.
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