The backdrop, as I am writing this, is very worrying. In the last few days, the cases of coronavirus have been rising, sadly deaths also.
I have been sharing reassuring insights on national TV and local radio while very tired and also vulnerable. The virus looms but my fellow Bristolians hold much regarding our fate.
With panic, the legendary British reserve has been cast aside, bringing amusement, shock and disappointment. From stockpiling loo rolls, desperate efforts to obtain hand sanitisers seeing them stolen from local hospitals then the selfish overbuying of food with no thought for neighbours and friends.
Why this meltdown? Fear. It is unveiling the worst of our flawed survival instincts.
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However, when the story is told of how we prevailed this crisis, it is not those sitting on the towers of loo roll or even the pasta niggards that will be remembered. It will be our community effort, all of us doing our best for each other.
We will all be significantly inconvenienced and made financially poorer for the collective good, but we must rally around those self-isolating with practical and emotional support. Especially showing love for the elderly and vulnerable in our community. If needed to help protect them, we will make it our privilege to. Not affording them this will be our greatest collective failure.
With schools and nurseries closed, young families will also be under a lot of strain. To secure our rapidly eroding societal values, we must model for our onlooking adolescents – how family and community inclusiveness entails sacrifice. Maybe even get them asking, “how can I help?”.
NHS colleagues will face multiple opportunities to catch the very infection others are avoiding. We will never leave anyone uncared for. Our families and loved ones also will be exposed as a result of our work.
To pass this coronavirus test, we must all follow the government’s advice. We must support and pray for each other. Be socially responsible – not panic buying but offering kindness and compassion.
Finally, we must show gratitude to others, especially when their actions are keeping us well and safe. Need us? We will be here for you but we all now need to link arms to get Bristol through this.
Let our actions give hope and encouragement to each other. Do not let this virus become a fatal moral infection that Bristol will never cure.
Ade Williams is an independent prescriber and lead pharmacist at Bedminster Pharmacy, a small, independent Healthy Living Pharmacy in south Bristol.
Main photo by Ellie Pipe