Every year, dictionaries around the world choose their own word of the year. My frontrunner so far is “social distancing” (formerly known as “personal space”), defined as keeping a safe distance of 1.5m from fellow humans in public to help slow the spread of coronavirus. And with so many events and gatherings being cancelled, I’m thinking one of last year’s words of the year, “cancel culture” (i.e. boycotting “offensive” individuals or organisations), might take on a whole new meaning now.
There are numerous steps we can take to minimise the risk of catching and spreading coronavirus – such as washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and drying hands thoroughly afterwards, replacing handshakes with elbow or ankle taps. Authorities stress that these measures are about risk minimisation, not risk elimination; COVID-19 will continue to spread and infect people. So, please, take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and those near and dear to you – and be kind. I’m aware of great kindnesses – shopping for vulnerable people, offering free, qualified babysitting, and dropping off spare rolls of toilet paper to a pensioner left without. That’s the spirit!
Reasons to be grateful this past week include health care workers who are at the coalface of the coronavirus response, David Williamson’s insightful Family Values and opening night of the French Film Festival.