Irish Examiner View: 24,000 reasons to be optimistic during coronavirus pandemic

Irish Examiner View: 24,000 reasons to be optimistic during coronavirus pandemic

As the Dáil reconvened to enact emergency coronavirus legislation, as the first death was recorded in Northern Ireland, and as oral and practical exams for Junior and Leaving Cert students were cancelled it might be all too easy to fret, to be sceptical about our capacity to overcome this threat.

In the great Cresta Run plunge towards something that might begin to look like resignation, any good news or light at the end of the tunnel is invaluable.

As reassurances go yesterday’s news that China, for the first time since the pandemic began, reported no new locally transmitted cases is hard to beat. China’s National Health Commission announced on Thursday that there had been just 34 new cases in the previous 24 hours — all imported it said — and eight new deaths, all in Hubei.

There were there no new cases reported in Hubei on Wednesday. Last month, mainland China reported thousands of new cases each day.

China has had to impose strict measures to get to this very welcome point whereas we rely on a sense of collegiality, of social connection as our best weapon. That 24,000 people have responded to the HSE call for help during the crisis suggests that faith is more than justified.

That, in just one example of adaptability, Irish Distillers is working with a Cork-based company to produce hand sanitiser instead of whiskey shows how that faith is bolstered by come-the-moment imagination.

There is, as the man said, nothing to fear but fear itself.

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