DO tears have bugs in them like coughs do mummy?

Just one of the many coronavirus-related questions overheard at the airport the past couple of days.

My expectation had been far more drama than what I actually witnessed.

I thought there would be masked faces everywhere and an avoidance of busy spaces. But what I actually witnessed was what you very typically witness in an airport; people going about their final preparations before going away on a break or on business and of course the ever-present drinking of rose wine at 7am. No judgement here, just observation.

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I expected to be scowled at for sneezing, frowned at for sniffing and rugby tacked if I dared actually shake someone’s hand. But no.

Despite the increase in cases across Europe, despite the closing of schools and youth projects in

the places I was visiting, people in the airport were making light of the situation and carrying on; just with a slightly stronger smell of antibacterial gel in the air.

I have no idea what the right thing to do is. I debated travelling at this time but ultimately with no firm guidance either way I, like everyone else in the airport, carried on.

The one big difference I did notice was the length of time people were spending at the sinks in the bathrooms.

If the silver lining of this is that people finally realise the importance of washing their hands properly, then that is at least something.

However, to restore the balance, there are plenty out there proving that the human race still has a long way to go; the toilet roll collectors, the tinned food foragers and the hand sanitiser hoarders.Who through their own greed will cause more harm than good and potentially increase their own risk of exposure by preventing others from being able to protect themselves.

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I wonder whether the difference with coronavirus is in fact the spread of the virus itself

or the spread of the news about it.

The difference in the world’s connectivity at the time of its appearance makes this different to anything we have ever experienced.

With technology we are now better connected, better informed and also more ill-informed than ever.

We know what is happening on the other side of the world as soon as it happens, we can watch events unfold everywhere.

We receive daily, hourly, sometimes minute-by-minute updates through the news and media. And with current questioning over the validity of stories and the need to fact check everything, much of what we read comes with a question around its truth or its inclusion of all the facts.

Whether we’ve got it all wrong and should’ve stopped travelling weeks ago or whether it’s a perfect example of how global connectivity can give huge hype to something incredibly quickly, we will likely never know. But what we do know is that it will be far more pleasant for everyone if we remain calm, considerate and kind throughout whatever it is we’re about to experience. It isn’t complicated.

Wash your hands, keep up to date with government guidance and make sure those you care about do too and be a considerate consumer.

No matter what happens over the course of the next few months, you are not going to need 180 toilet rolls.