By Rachel Garvey
Let’s play a game of ‘Would You Rather’. Would you rather contract COVID-19 or have St Patrick’s Day festivities cancelled? What would you answer? I’ll start off the game by telling you my truthful answer. I’d rather the festivities be cancelled; a person’s health must always come first. I’m saying that with such a heavy heart, because, in all my 21 years of being on this earth, there hasn’t been one year where we haven’t celebrated St Patrick’s Day by dressing up in green and going to see the parade in Galway city, or, when I was a little older, we would all go for the traditional pint, or pints, because there is no such thing as just going for one drink. The vast majority out there are adjusting with great difficulty to the life of an introvert wishing they were at work or were out with friends to enjoy the celebrations, but now is the time to put our needs first, before the wants and luxuries of life.
Will you just let me say what everyone is thinking, but not saying out loud? The virus and the fear of contracting it is one thing, but for our St Patrick’s Day festivities to be cancelled, which includes pubs and clubs being shut down, as well as our annual parades not taking place, is simply unforgivable. Yet, at the same time, there is nothing we can do about it. It is honestly so frustrating to not be able to control something. Why can’t this virus just pack its bags and be gone from Ireland? Why can’t it just be gone from this world entirely? Bye Felicia! If only it was that simple.
As much as we wish the pubs were open and celebrations were kicking off, we need to remember why this significant day in our Irish calendars is cancelled. If we were all crowded into a number of venues all throughout Galway city and some rural areas, we would all be putting ourselves at risk of contracting the virus. Any one of us can have it and I’m sorry to add to the fear, but it’s time that we faced the facts. Our bodies react differently to the virus, with some people feeling the effects of it while others are merely in the dark and don’t feel any effects at all, they are merely just carriers and that is where the danger lies. Yes, we may want to go out and have a pint and forget about this pandemic for a while, but that is where the first mistake is made. It is our ignorance that will plunge us into deeper trouble than we already are in. The people who are carrying it unknowingly are returning home to their children, parents, grandparents or housemates and the real damage then starts to unfold, as someone close to you contracts the virus and ends up in an intensive care unit or on a ventilation system because they already suffer from an underlying medical condition and their immune system isn’t strong enough to fight the stranger virus. How about we start thinking about our loved ones and how it might not just impact us, but impact them? I have spoken to people whose ignorance is something that I choose not to tolerate. I have simply walked away from them. There are people out there who are healthy, in their 20s and so on so forth and they seem to think they have been granted immunity from the virus.
Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. The virus cares not for what age we are, what gender we are, but it will affect anyone that comes into contact with it. Whether you are an infant, a teenager, a young adult, an elderly person or a pregnant woman, it can be contracted by anyone. The luck of the Irish is not on our side right now, we need to stop thinking that it is. It’s time people started putting their health first; the pints will still be there after the pandemic, just make sure that you and your loved ones are thereafter it too.