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Covid Archive Article

Day 1, Lockdown 1

If I didn’t get Covid on the day the government announced the first lockdown, Thursday 12th March 2020, I was never going to get it! We headed for Dunnes, along with so many others who had heard the announcement, to buy the essential supplies before the inevitable happened: that everything would close down and that it was only a matter of time before everything would run out. . Everyone was in a race to stock up before all the shortages we imagined took hold. The queues to the tills stretched down every aisle. There was no such thing as “social distancing” (it had yet to be invented ….and implemented, as were face masks). Everyone was “cheek by jowl”, and every trolley had the requisite rack of toilet paper. This was perceived the item of choice that was surely going to run out in the coming days and weeks. Unguarded trolleys ran the risk of being relieved of that precious commodity. Talk was hardly chit-chat, and the most charitable thing one was asked to do was to “keep an eye on my trolley while I grab something from the other aisle”. The whole experience resembled the week before Christmas without the good cheer and expectation. We were shopping in anticipation of some sort of Armageddon.

The first Covid-related death had been announced the previous day, a patient in Naas hospital, but everything else was just hear-say and speculation. Two days previously, Leo Varadker, caretaker Taoiseach until a government was finally established in June, had mentioned in his broadcast that the worst case scenario from this virus was that 80,000 of us could die, and that there would be no funerals for those who succumbed to the disease. Could that be true? The dramatic photos from Italy with so many dying every day and lines of lorries taking coffins to the crematoria shocked us all. Watching the main news bulletins each day became compulsory, and that fed into our sense of paranoia. Our insatiable appetite for news heightened our fears as we watched the cases rise and the deaths increase.

Raphael Ryan, May 2021.