As these are unprecedented times, I decided to record a record in rhyme for future reference. Although it is quite lengthy, I thought you might like to have a copy.
In December no one seemed to know what was going on
‘Tho there were reports of people dying in China’s Wuhuan.
In January and February here everything was fine
We could go out to the pub and enjoy a glass of wine.
Then in early March things started to go queer
There was much talk of Corona – but not Corona beer.
Then reports from Northern Italy started to come through
The old were dying all around coz there was no room in ICU.
The doctors had to pick and choose what patients they could treat
And if you were over a certain age, you didn’t get a seat.
The wards were overwhelmed with sick people all around
And convoys of trucks with coffins brought the dead to burial grounds.
Large crowds went off to Cheltenham to see the horses race
Many felt they should have stayed at home – that it was a disgrace.
When the football match was cancelled between Italy and Ireland
The fans who’d booked to see the match probably brought the virus first hand.
Then the Taoiseach closed the schools and there was mass hysteria
People filled their shopping trolleys with flour, rice and pasta.
They cleared the shelves of everything as if the end was nigh
There was little thought for others or how they might get by.
Older people worried that they couldn’t get their bread
And if the virus didn’t kill them they might starve to death instead!
People stocked up toilet rolls and piled them up at home
So there were none for other shoppers who just wanted to buy some.
We had to ‘flatten out the curve’ that’s what we were told
To look after the old and vulnerable and keep them in the fold.
We had to socially distance when anyone we met
And remember to wash our hands and the ‘cough and sneeze’ etiquette.
Private hospitals were taken over, wards were changed and beds moved round
Extra ventilators, respirators and oxygen had to be found.
Healthcare staff faced shortages of masks and PPE
They couldn’t be got from anywhere, not even by the HSE.
Hand washes, disinfecting wipes and cleaning fluids were sold
You couldn’t source them anywhere, not even for Midas’ gold.
Hotels and other spaces were used for many things
For testing and for tracing, isolation and step-down wings.
People returned to Ireland to answer Ireland’s call
After this request was highlighted and announced in the Dail.
Public servants changed their roles to what needed to be done
Everyone had to row in ‘til this Covid battle was won.
Cillian de Gascoigne, Sam McConkey, Luke O’Neill,
We hadn’t heard of them before but they made the virus real.
Leo Varadkar, Simon Harris and Dr. Tony Holohan,
Each day they gave statistics from the time this thing began.
Dr. Tony kept a cool head, despite his personal strife
No one would have guessed that he had a seriously ill wife.
Paul Reid and Dr. Ronan Glynn and even the W H O
Told us of the various ways we could make the virus slow.
The Nursing Homes seemed not to cope and deaths rose in many
While others seemed to do just fine and infections hadn’t any.
Then the country closed down – we were told to stay at home
‘Twas only within two kilometres from our house that we could roam.
During lockdown people travelled more than they were meant to
And some went to their holiday homes in places like Kilaloe.
Some even had their friends round for a weekend house party
Matt Damon got isolated here in a mansion in Dalkey.
The Gardai had to intervene when people didn’t obey
When they broke the ‘gathering’ and ‘distance’ rules, Gardai sent them on their way.
With one foul swoop as businesses were told to close their doors
The unemployment numbers in the country – they just soared.
Of those who held on to their jobs some had to work remotely
While others were asked to man the ships which some fought quite hotly.
Building sites and offices, hotels and public bars,
Non-food shops and film sets and places that sold cars …
Restaurants and cafes, they all had to close
We were all in this together, facing lockdown woes.
Paddy’s Day parades were cancelled and the golf and football games
Concerts and boxing and tennis, and even the Olympics of fame.
All the frontline workers – doctors, nurses and carers too
Cleaners, caterers, Gardai, shop workers and ambulance crew ….
They all continued working for the good of all of us
Even though they were at high risk of contracting the virus.
We clapped for them and lit a light to show them that we cared
But how many of us worried about how they really fared?
Some did and they raised funding, cooked for them and made face masks
It made it that bit easier for them to do their tasks.
The Government gave a wage subsidy and ‘pandemic unemployment pay’
Some earned more on PUP than they did working for days.
Volunteers and helpers from all walks of life
Delivered food and medicines, and chats – coz loneliness was rife.
Wedding days were cancelled and postponed to different dates
And those who went ahead with theirs had to do so without their mates.
First Communions and Confirmations didn’t go ahead
Kids had got their finery but they missed out on the ‘bread’.
If one was over seventy or had a medical illness known
They were told to stay indoors they were meant to ‘cocoon’.
Kids with special needs – they struggled with the change
And parents and guardians had to cope out of their range.
Many people suffered from anxiety and stress
It was a very difficult time for people with mental illness.
Charities lost income and businesses called for aid
Domestic violence victims lived in fear and were afraid.
You couldn’t go to hospitals or nursing homes, or Mass
If your loved ones were very seriously ill you could watch them through window glass.
You couldn’t visit prisoners – inmates stayed inside their cell
This meant that many had no choice but to confront their private hell.
And if family members passed away, you had to grieve alone
You didn’t get to say goodbye – just a video call by phone.
Hospital staff and nurses had to comfort and assure
And deal with death and dying like they never did before.
Only ten allowed at funerals – no friends to ease your grief
No hugs or words of comfort – only sadness beyond belief.
Businesses that were able to, moved trading to on-line
Restaurants became takeaways so people could still fine dine.
There were virtual gyms and lessons to show how to make nice grub
And RTE – it played its part by launching its Home School Hub.
Social media played a big role, online shopping it did soar
People bought, and bought, and bought, and bought and then they bought some more!
Hairdressers and salons were missed the most by lots
As they struggled with their haircuts, and home colouring from pots.
People ate and drank more and alcohol sales soared
And more was spent on sweet treats than at any time before.
Banana bread and cupcakes, even the humble bun
Online recipes galore helped make cooking fun.
Public transport seats were cut so passengers could space
And all were asked, when travelling, to cover up their face.
At first ‘twas thought the germ was ‘super spread’ by younger kids
Grandparents were told to stay away from them and many did.
This broke their hearts and left a gap in child minding services
Parents relied on them for work coz of the high cost of creches!
One could only see their grandkids at a distance in the garden
No hugs or kisses for special ones, hard to take if you’re under ten.
People painted houses, fixed up fences, cleared their homes,
Planted up their gardens, sewed flowers and placed some gnomes.
And for those who had no gardens but who lived in towns in flats
They had no space to walk around – many felt they were going bats.
Home schooling became the norm, as did working from home
Parents juggled lessons, and work deadlines, and meetings on zoom.
Kitchen tables were transformed to class and office space
Spare rooms and dens, for the lucky few, were a saving grace.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner often merged with work and school
As all competed for the table, there weren’t any rules.
Students were uncertain about the state examinations
The Junior and Leaving Certs cancelled after much deliberation.
Calculated Grades were used to give the students marks
For Leaving Cert – and teachers feared that there would be sparks!
Many in the country had no internet or wi-fi
They couldn’t work remotely, virtual school, or on-line buy.
Businesses changed their product lines to meet the new demands
Some brewers went from making beer to making gel for hands.
If you had imagination and an entrepreneurial skill
With a bit of innovation, many shortages you could fill.
Anyone lucky enough to hold car and health insurance
Instead of price increases, were given refunds for once.
Many of us had holidays booked and flights to far and near
But these were all cancelled due to ‘spreading the virus’ fear.
Cruise ships full of passengers were not allowed to dock
Those on board confined to cabins and kept under lock.
People were stranded far away and couldn’t get flights back
The Government had to charter planes – it cost them quite a whack!
Then when travel opened up we were left to foot the bill
When asked to stay at home this year but the flights they went out still.
And there was consternation ‘bout the visitors coming here
Who were asked to isolate themselves, but if they didn’t, they’d nothing to fear.
When a green list was published that was not so great
If you travelled to somewhere not on the list you risked being the subject of hate.
America and the UK let the virus run rampant
Donald Trump suggested Americans should drink disinfectant!
While over in the UK Boris Johnson was slow to act
‘Herd immunity’ seemed to be the first plan that he backed.
But in both of those great nations the authorities lost control
Boris got infected and the virus went on a roll.
When Ireland’s General Election in February took place
All the political parties felt that they could win the race.
And despite the worse pandemic that the country had ever seen
It took more than four months to form a government with the Greens.
When we started opening up again we opened up by phase
Some phases merged when things were good, but when not, there were delays.
As the country continues opening up, many challenges lie ahead
The virus could re-surge again and that’s the greatest dread.
As pubs and schools reopen and people once more mix
If we have a second lockdown it will be much harder to fix.
Face masks and visors and Covid screens in shops
And queues and social distance lines and hand sanitising stops….
These are the ‘new normal’ that we must now adopt
At least until a vaccine comes and the virus can be stopped.
Further local lockdowns, school children kept in pods,
One wonders when this all will end but that’s in the hands of the Gods.
The HSE has lauded the new Covid Tracker App
To correlate statistics and give a Covid map.
Most every single sector is looking for financial aid
They don’t want loans to bail them out as loans must be repaid.
Each group is fighting for its own and stressing what it wants
They all say they, if to survive, need lots and lots of grants.
One wonders who will foot the bill for all the Covid measures
Will we have to pay the billions cost by selling Ireland’s treasures?
Or will the working taxpayer be asked to cough up more
As happened with recessions that hit Ireland before?
Whatever way it’s paid for we’ll be glad we have our health
Even though we might be taxed more and have less personal wealth.