The Corona Virus
There's a growing air of near hysteria around the coverage of the corona virus. What began as a story from China, from a city we hardly knew existed has become the consistent headline item in most news bulletins. Each day brings news of fresh outbreaks in countries with whom we have many daily interactions, and Irish holidaymakers in several places have found themselves on lockdown in their hotels following on cases among their fellow travellers. People who set out on what should have been the cruise of a lifetime have found themselves virtual prisoners on vessels in quarantine. The north of Italy is a favoured destination for many Irish people and images of deserted streets and closed tourist attractions are not images we are accustomed to. Without doubt there is cause for concern.
There is a sense of powerlessness in the situation, we can only stand and watch how the story will unfold. The decision to cancel the Ireland V Italy Rugby game seems eminently sensible, it might be tempting fate to gather so many people from a country where the virus is rampant in such a concentrated gathering and simply hope for the best.
We need to become hygiene vigilant taking care to wash hands and surfaces to minimise any risks. Our sign of peace at the Eucharist with the usual handshake might better become a verbal greeting.
Thankfully the majority of people who contract the virus make a full recovery, but it has a less than happy outcome for those with underlying medical problems whose immune systems are compromised. The advice in other countries to self-quarantine in the event of developing symptoms is both sensible and responsible.
Scientists are undoubtedly working hard to develop a vaccine and we pray that their research will be fruitful sooner rather than later. We should pray too for those who have succumbed to the virus and for their families.
St. Mary's Lucan