I lost it. The computer screen got it right between the eyes. The dog hid under the desk as I gave vocal vent to the emotion the onscreen message incited. It may have been an over-reaction, but it was probably just the final straw. The culprit was another of the public information messages reminding us about the current mass quarantine. This one pulled no punches.
“Don’t go outside. People will die.”
Tell that to the emergency and medical services…who are not ‘services’…they are people, with partners, parents and children they are trying to keep safe while they go out to work every day, trying to help the rest of us. Tell it to the farmers and growers who work outside and without whom we would be lacking a lot more than toilet paper. Tell it to those in the testing labs, in contact with the virus every day. Tell it to the bus and delivery drivers, the postal workers, the refuse collectors, the staff in our shops, supermarkets and essential offices, few of whom have been provided with any kind of protection. Tell it to the people manning helplines, the good Samaritans delivering food parcels and checking on elderly neighbours, the teachers providing daycare for the children of keyworkers. Tell it to the carers who look after the vulnerable in care homes or in their own homes. Tell it to the warehouse staff working their backsides off, unseen and unthanked, to supply us with necessities both medical and domestic.
If many of these people don’t go outside… people will die.
And it might even be them, or their own families, as these are the people coming into contact with others outside their homes and at risk of carrying infection back home again.
I do understand the message the writer was trying to get across… but it is a time to consider the implications of words and how they affect people. The reporting on this crisis is doing more than enough to fuel an emotive response. We are all worried enough, without having the added anxiety of whether or not, by simply doing a necessary job, we will bring home something that could harm our loved ones. It is bad enough that curtains twitch and neighbours, who know nothing about your work, ‘tut’ at the daily sortie.
Heaping guilt upon these people for ‘going out’ is hardly supportive.
Whoever wrote that particular bit of ‘public information’ might just want to think about that…