To deliberately misquote the title of a powerhouse of a novel, the last few months has been, for me, Love (and Law) but for too many others, Loss in the time of coronavirus. Loss has taken many forms – through not many degrees of separation, I am very aware of the pain that, variously furlough; unemployment; illness and in some very sad cases, death has caused to those known to me and loved by others.
Earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, I put together a LinkedIn article, and noted how, at that time coronavirus had claimed 68,169 lives worldwide with more than 1.25 million confirmed cases. Boris Johnson had proclaimed that “families will lose loved ones before their time”. That statement became ever truer and, as we all now know, one that was almost prophetic for the Prime Minister. The infected numbers are now relatively mind-blowing – 693,726 people have lost their lives from 18,263,542 confirmed cases.
So how do we even begin to process what has just happened – from capacity crowds at Anfield and Cheltenham in February, through to Oxford Street resembling a scene from 28 Days Later in May?
I write this – to post later – from the Isle of Mull, in the Inner Hebrides. We are here for three days before the official launch of our new law firm, London Law Collective and there is no Wifi (in my case, oversight rather than strategy). However, front and centre is the raw, rugged power of multi-faceted nature. Beautiful flowers sway gently in the (significant) Scottish breeze with a backdrop of metallic coloured waves smashing against the rocks. Nature is un (modern) worldly in both its natural beauty and its ability to be uncompromisingly destructive. Our recent unpolluted skies; abundant urban flora and clear bird song without interference were the antithesis of our modern choices – it’s taken a pandemic to wrestle regular plane travel; short car journeys; and carefree use of plastic out of our sub-conscious thought.
Will it ever be the same again and do we want it to be anyway? I have seen a positive change in behaviour from many – including me. Has the coronavirus pandemic given us all more perspective and will it last?
It will not be easy. In many parts of the world, coronavirus infections are still rising sharply and as Britain tentatively reopens, infections are creeping upwards as the furlough scheme will shortly close and we brace ourselves for negative economic news. But the (perhaps) paradoxical truth is that it is at times like these when we are conditioned towards “every man for himself” behaviours (with our world leaders not providing much by way of evidence to the contrary) that we need to stick together. From the most personal – ensuring that your occasional ‘good morning’ to the person on your road becomes a regular part of your day, through to rival businesses collaborating wherever possible, through to lay-offs (if absolutely necessary), being considered, not knee jerk, with every network available being used to try to find new roles for ex-employees.
This is a long day – but those of us that can must hold our nerve for those who cannot and this time shall pass.