Life in ‘Quarrytine’

April 24 2020 Jennifer Quarry Transition Year

The coronavirus first surfaced in Wuhan, China in the seafood and poultry markets late last year. With constant international travel across the globe, it wasn’t long before the disease had escaped the Chinese borders and spread around the world.

The first report of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, touching Irish shores was in relation to a woman who travelled through Dublin Airport on her way home to Northern Ireland from northern Italy on the 28th of February. She subsequently tested positive for the illness upon returning home to Belfast. However, the first case of COVID-19 in Ireland was actually confirmed on the 29th Of February when a male in the east of the country tested positive for the disease.

Although I had heard reports of these events in the news, and I was slightly anxious about the speed at which the virus was spreading, the whole experience really began for me on the 12th of March when the schools closed nationwide. Granted this wasn’t completely unexpected, what with the school musical being postponed the previous day. I actually wasn’t in school that day, so it was the first day of the many to come spent in the confines of my home.

Leo Varadkar had announced the closure of the schools and the original plan was to reopen after two weeks. I suppose the government, like many of us, hoped that this would be enough to slow down the spread of the virus and possibly contain it. Unfortunately, we were naïve to think that this global pandemic could be prevented from worsening or possibly being defeated in such a short amount of time. On the 27th of March, lockdown ensued. The lockdown regulations were much stricter than the ones we had been abiding by beforehand, and they were only supposed to be followed until Easter Sunday (the 12th of April) but, to nobody’s surprise, they were extended for another three weeks until the 5th of May.

I feel as though it is very important that we remain positive during this period, or so I am told by my parents, by teachers, by news reporters and by the government. I am hopeful that the lockdown will be lifted on the 5th of May and that life can regain some sense of normality or some form of routine. But I’m sure people would agree that it’s a lot easier to be doubtful rather than hopeful about this when plans for the future are continuing to be postponed and, in many cases, cancelled.

In the beginning, despite many people’s complaints, I didn’t mind being stuck at home at all. I welcomed the break. I know that we should remain positive. I tell others this myself on a regular basis. However, I cannot help the fact that my own outlook on this whole pandemic is quickly changing. I feel that the negativity is creeping in and that it is becoming harder to maintain a positive outlook. While, in a way, the lockdown regulations have improved people’s physical health, as people are getting a lot more exercise restricted to a 2km radius around their home, I definitely think that people’s mental health has and will suffer greatly.

I have missed out on a lot due to this pandemic, with more missed opportunities to come, I’m sure. Concerts and festivals, school activities and trips, holidays and, of course, being able to see my relatives and friends. Yes, I am bitterly disappointed by this, like the rest of us, and, yes, it angers me when I see people blatantly ignoring the regulations put in place when I think about the personal sacrifices I have made. However, these personal sacrifices I have made cannot compare to the sacrifices made by our heath care workers who risk their own and their families’ lives every day. We are all making little sacrifices for a larger benefit.