Coronovirus update July 2020

I’m delighted that  as of today, July 4, pubs, restaurants, shops and hairdressers have started to re-open. However, for the next while, I intend to continue on Zoom on a wait-and-see basis.

Of course I would love to return to meeting in person.   But it’s not obviously safe for you or me. The following reasoning applies to any busy therapist or other professional meeting clients for long periods in small rooms.

It is estimated that one person in 2,200 in the UK currently has covid-19.  That doesn’t seem many. And it isn’t, if you are meeting briefly.  However, I assume that 1.5 hour face to face meetings in a small room are high risk with or without a mask – plus I find it hard to picture doing therapy wearing masks. I did some sums (anyone remember the binomial theorem from school …?). If I go back to face to face meetings just as before, there is a roughly a one in ten chance that in four to six months, I would not only get infected, but very possibly be a super-spreader and infect six or even 10 people in the asymptomatic early phase of the infection.  A similar calculation applies to any other therapist.

It therefore makes sense to wait and see what happens: what happens overall with lockdown ending, and what happens in particular with workplaces such as counselling.

Zoom has worked really well. My previous experiences on Skype had been not very good, so this was both a relief and a surprise. Yes of course,  something significant is missed.  But on balance it’s not something so pressingly essential as to to make me throw caution to the wind.

I have a philosophical turn of mind and I see the pandemic in a context. My parents lived through two world wars and the 1930s depression. I’ve always been aware that my life has been lived in a rare and blessed period of history with, locally, no wars, peace and plenty, democratic government, amazing medical science freely available, and wonderful riches of opportunity. I don’t feel aggrieved at fate that I have some experience now, more similar to my parents.

Further, in overall perspective I don’t see the pandemic as purely an evil. Random and un-necessary deaths on such a scale are a tragedy.  But the world faces potentially far worse problems of climate change, unsustainable development, and so many others ( lists at GVI,  Wikipedia). I think of coronovirus as a wake-up call to the world that we’re all in this together and the unthinkable really can happen.

Unthinkable problems, but also unthinkable solutions. Just today in the headlines are the ideas of nationalising all care homes, starting the university year in January, getting all homeless people off the street, talk of giving every person a £500 voucher, talk of universal basic income, ways to make the drop in emissions permanent. That doesn’t reduce the pain of those whose lives are hit by disease, unemployment or death but it does perhaps invite us to focus on the resourceful and change-oriented place within ourselves. Covid or not, the need for massive change will remain. A few positive links: The Conversation,  Nikkei Asia, Guardian Upside.)