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COVID-19: The Virus That Paused The World

2020 was the year the entire world stood still. 

Parents would become teachers, once nameless neighbours would become friends and society would learn that the most neglected workers were, in fact, the most vital.

But, what will the history books recollect? The streets lined with clapping families, the able fetching shopping for the elderly or windows filled with messages of hope – pictures of rainbows that promised this shit shall pass. I hope it’s all remembered, but with the good came the bad. Society will never forget those that lost their lives and the thousands that tirelessly treated people, with no hesitation or thought for their own safety. 

For those of us that stayed at home, that was the year that we found pleasure in the small things. We went on walks and actually enjoyed them, smiled at strangers because for the first time since World War Two; this was something we were all in together. And, whilst many of us had it easier than others, we were all united in our uncertainty at what the future would hold. 

On the contrary to what many journalists initially said, Covid-19 did discriminate; it had a bank balance bias. It picked on the already ill, the elderly and those that had no feasible choice but to work. This was the year the poor would get poorer. Students would pay for tuition they would never receive and rent for a house they would not set foot in. Countless international students would be forced to stay put, far away from family and all alone. 

Many third-year students would never get their end of year shows, exams and graduation ceremonies. Never getting to spend one last Summer in their student houses, abruptly saying goodbye to a city or town they had come to know as home.

Countless people would lose their sources of income, no furlough, no way to pay their bills. Domestic abuse would rise, suicide rates would soar. 2020 was the year we realised the businesses and people that cared. Not the Waterstones, or Wetherspoons of the world, but the Joe Wicks and Captain Toms.

Holidays would be cancelled, weddings postponed, and funerals attended by none. Those that died in care homes would never be forgotten but, the politicians that massaged the death statistics would be held to account. 

It was the year we took as a lesson, to seek out connection in a world that can feel so disconnected. We learnt the members of society we need, the ones that work without flaunting their efforts. Not the billionaires or pointlessly famous celebrities, but the doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, retail workers, delivery people and everyone in-between that just did something to help in their own way.

How will this moment be illustrated in the countless films that will no doubt retell it? With rainbows and window waves, with facetime chats to loved ones – or by the sprouting seeds planted during hours spent in the garden. 

Upon leaving our homes some returned back to their old ways but for the masses, everything changed. Individuals continued to cook and bake they persisted with reading and writing and finally, society saw the value of the things they had ignored. 

And, we would all walk, everywhere. 

2020 was the year we waited out the rain, in the end, a rainbow would appear.