Editorial comment: Tough times for all

A healthcare worker talks to a man recovered from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as he donates convalescent plasma, at the Hemotherapy Institute in La Plata, Argentina October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

The revelation that a prominent Suva law firm is feeding students in eight primary schools in Lami because their fathers had lost their jobs, and mothers abandoned them, will attract attention.

This was raised by Lami District Council of Social Services president Asaeli Naisoro. Some mothers, he said, were abandoning their families because they were unable to cope with the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.

The situation came to light after Lami DCOSS spent the past few months working with the Suva law firm to feed students at eight primary schools because they were going to school hungry.

This is a rather sad reflection of how some of us are coping in the face of the pandemic. It is difficult to comprehend how things have turned out, yet we are also able to see that people are actually reacting differently.

It does go against the grain, and probably against what would be considered normal, and the right thing to do. But we are facing unprecedented times, and a pandemic that has greatly affected the world. Its tentacles have stretched across all imaginary demarcation lines, casting aside any perceived untouchable barriers along the way.

By Saturday night, CNN reported that the US had recorded its highest one-day number of COVID-19 infections. That was 83,000 on Friday. It was 6000 higher than the country’s previous record set in July.

Experts warn that as the surge continues, the daily numbers will get worse for the US. At least 8,547,198 cases and 224,537 deaths have been reported this year in the US. In other news, European countries are reporting record numbers of cases as the continent prepares for the pandemic to intensify through winter, CNN reported yesterday.

Back on the homefront, Mr Naisoro said the impact of the pandemic had also resulted in people requesting for bus fare top-ups and assistance in paying electricity and water bills. There was an increase in requests for assistance and he envisaged it could get worse because of the increase in unemployment.

“Some women have left their families after their husbands were laid off their jobs,” he said.

“This was relayed to us by teachers and head of schools because some children are going to school without food, there is no one at home to prepare their lunches.” He said a few weeks ago they encountered two children at a primary school in Lami who were being provided lunch by their teacher because their parents had separated.

“Children are now going to school without lunches; sometimes they don’t even have their breakfast at home because there’s no food and because mum’s gone.” It’s a rather sad turn of events.

We acknowledge all those working behind the scenes, trying to bring back some semblance of order under tough times. They are going out of their way to deal with an issue that appears to be getting out of hand.

There will be a leaning towards the powers that be to come up with solutions and provide some confidence and reassurance. But in saying that, it also falls on us as individuals to take appropriate action moving forward. Times are hard.

Economies are taking a battering around the world. Governments are staring at a blankwall in some countries. No one is immune.

However, in the face of all that gloom is our major challenge, which is to keep the status quo in as far as our COVID-19 figures are concerned.

There are positive vibes there for all Fijians. So adhere to social distancing rules and stay on course Fiji. We have proven that we can do it together.

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