As the virus runs riot, Dunkirk Spirit resurges harder. Half a million people have already volunteered for the NHS, innovative resources are popping up all over the web, and we’re rediscovering the value in our local communities.
Ok, we’ve had panic hoarders, idiot barbecuers, “vile creatures” spitting at police officers, and a disgusting amount of Corona-spam emails, but we’ve also got a lot to be proud about. 40,000 PMP members voluntarily completed a Government survey to help map harder to detect signs of outbreak across the UK, 30,000 of you volunteered for a recurring study on the social impact of the crisis for UCL, hundreds of you recorded a video to thank NHS workers, and thousands are downloading a daily symptoms tracker app informing scientists of symptoms (or lack of).
I’m making the most of the time at home to finally get stuff done. Since I started this business, and a family, I’ve been racing through my days, never quite getting everything I mean to get done. For the last ten years I’ve been stockpiling DIY tasks, books, computer games, films, TV series, under the illusion that I would actually have time for them. Now I do, and I’m finding time to exercise and enjoy the garden.
PMP member Joey put it very nicely in the comment he posted on Monday:
“Two thoughts: before this virus how many people would have wished to ‘take a sickie break’ just to recharge their batteries. As a retired, but very poor, pensioner I have been very happily hibernating all winter. I have heaps of books yet to read and there are such good programs on TV especially late at night. My laptop is a pleasant distraction including PMP. Now is the time to use up all the tins in the garage. I think there are nine(!) towers of tuna somewhere. No lack of protein. Heaps of paperwork needs to be filed, fuses to be mended, woodwork needs painting, the garden is full of brambles. I phone my neighbours to see if anything I have extra of is use to them and vice versa. The TV is informing me in the background and I feel very sorry for those who have caught it and marvel at the bravery of the medical staff and home carers. I snooze in the day and potter at night. I skype my relatives in Aus at 4am. I’m a night owl so very happy. Secondly, do you think the UK has already reached it’s target on climate change? Surely with nearly all transport deserting the roads and airports, the air is so much cleaner. Wonderful pictures of Venice’s waterways clear with fish and swans reappearing. Never liked going into London because of the pollution. It looks lovely now that it is empty of all traffic. I hope the government will have a committee working apart from this Corona virus, thinking how to reconfigure transport after we get back to normal, to make the most of this absence of pollution. Must stop waffling. Stay safe everyone and ring your friends and family.”
We asked 1,000 of you “Which of the following have you done more of since staying at home because of the Coronavirus outbreak?” on the Survey Draw. You said:
- Household maintenance / organisation (19.9%)
- Contact with immediate family (15.87%)
- Cooking from scratch (9.63%)
- Exercise (9.39%)
- Contact with close friends (7.98%)
- Healthy eating (5.36%)
- Contact with neighbours (5.32%)
- Contact with extended family (4.71%)
- Volunteering / helping others (3.95%)
- Renewed connections with past friends (2.14%)
I’m not denying that this is a total disaster, just that we should focus on the positives. The more I do, the more I can see. Old habits will die and new habits will emerge. I’ll think again before heading into town for a face-to-face meeting. Maybe the captains of industry will ditch their Business Class flights, now someone has shown them how to operate Skype. They say this is the biggest crisis since the second World War, but that gave us the NHS, The UN, modern computing, penicillin, and global agreement that despots and racists are bad. I’m not saying it’s a fair swap, just that we should look on the bright side, since we don’t have a choice.
Over the last few decades the internet has grown into something we could never have imagined. It seems like this enforced pause is allowing us to explore and discover how to use it for the greater good, for the first time, from local community groups to get or give help to resources and tools for home-schooling games, sports, art, science tech and much more.
Let’s hope these new habits stick and we seize the opportunity to make stuff better for good, for everyone.
Please stay at home, and please stay positive.
Chris & Team