Frankly speaking, putting together a new newspaper issue has never been as hard as this time. The reason? The news span over the last three weeks is the same – all about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It rolled over to the Baltics in early March and some pundits say it can reach its peak only by May 1.
Does this mean the three nations will be in a lockdown that long? I frown at the prospect, although working remotely, which is key part of quarantine, has been my usual routine for many years now.
If I can share something personal with you, I’m coping with the new life under quarantine quite well, perhaps better than others. I got my pair of 20-kilo dumbbells delivered straight to my house last week and the gym bench arrived this week. Taking a few strides towards the kitchen cupboard for a home-made protein shake and sipping it as I gaze out at the pier through the large panoramic window may sound like luxury to any big-time jetsetter, but not to me, a hard-working journalist.
Yet, hearing and seeing what is going on now, in this tumultuous time, a result of the novel contagion, is painful. As much as we all are rightly preoccupied with reining it in, I clearly see that things making us all humans are being tested the hardest. I felt flabbergasted by my 83-year-old father’s confession earlier this week that he was denied entry to a local supermarket just because he was not wearing a face mask. Well, to tell the truth, they have not been available in local pharmacies until now, already three weeks into the COVID-19 malady.
I just hope the Chinese, who extended a helping hand, providing both humanitarian aid and commercial shipments of face masks and other sanitary goods, can patch up the gaping gaps in the supply.
Notably, it was the Chinese, not Western European nations, which are also jostling with the epidemiologic scourge, who came to the rescue not only of Lithuanians, but Estonians, too. Ironically, both Baltic nations have placed China along with Russia on the list of countries posing risk to their national security.
And, speaking of my father who lives alone, he is crippled – unable to raise his hands above his shoulder line due to an illness. Who will help him with putting the mask on his face?
Yesterday (on March 28), I spent quite some time consoling my doctor friend, whose 86-year-old mother having apparently suffered from stroke was discharged from the emergency room without having received any care. The reason? The doctors are busy treating COVID-19 patients and, well, the octogenarian-plus-something lady can bring in a virus, thus putting others in jeopardy.
I have no doubt we will overcome the coronavirus and the scary nose-dives of the economies, but it is the lapses of our human face and what it entails that will be remembered longest for years to come. At least in my heart.