So You're Missing A Funeral Because Of Coronavirus Lockdown

This will pass soon enough, but there are moments you can’t get back.

We’re all missing out on things we wish we could be doing. Weddings, coffee dates, even just giving our mates a hug. As borders close and restrictions on public gatherings are put in place, the very grim realities of coronavirus are that we will be missing some pretty important events, like funerals.

I live in New South Wales. We got a call earlier in the week to say that a family friend we thought was perfectly healthy only has a short time to live. That friend lives in Tasmania, who have effectively closed their borders to mainland Australia (and anyone else for that matter) by introducing a mandatory two week quarantine for anyone who enters the state. Our friend doesn’t have two weeks.

It’s a pretty brutal realisation, but it’s one that I know I’m not alone in. People are going to be missing the births, funerals, and marriages of loved ones because of the coronavirus, and while this will all pass soon enough, those are moments you can’t get back. 

Coronavirus is so scary that a New York hospital system is banning birthing partners from hospital rooms. People in Italy are saying goodbye to their dying loved ones over video call.

People are giving birth alone and dying alone. 

When all this madness has passed and we’re allowed outside again, we’ll go to Tasmania and say goodbye to our friend properly. We’ll meet the babies that were born during quarantine, and we’ll sit with our friends and look at their wedding pictures. It’s tough right now. Really tough. We’ll get through to the other side, but we’ll never forget what and who we lost in the process.

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While Our Government Backflips On Haircuts, Jacinda Ardern Continues To Step Up

"You are not alone."

Remember when our government stepped up, and Scott Morrison told us all that some very strict and not at all confusing rules were now in place for things like haircuts and funerals? What a good time 24 hours ago was, huh? There’s been a backflip on those rules already, and so while we try and unscramble the message that we’re being given, it would probably just save us all some time to copy what the New Zealanders are doing instead.

To start with the latest rule update (which will almost certainly change by tomorrow at this rate, but here’s where we’re at), the 30 minute limit on haircuts has now been lifted because of the “receipt of feedback.” My personal theory is that this rule wouldn’t have had to be backflipped on if they’d consulted literally any woman or POC, but that’s a rant for another day.

The rule about only having one person per four square meters is still in place though, so go figure.

As for funerals, State and Territory leaders can provide exemptions, but “only at the margin.” Basically it will be up to State and Territory governments to decide if one or two more people can attend someone’s funeral than the current restriction of ten.

So what’s Jacinda Ardern up to I hear you ask? Check out the text message that was sent to all of New Zealand. 

Clear instructions about what to do during the COVID-19 pandemic? Good grief, I never thought I’d see such a thing. 

She’s also been on the front foot in all sorts of ways. She’s been telling New Zealanders that “you are not alone”, she’s been asking Scott Morrison to help out New Zealanders stuck in Australia, and even gave a special press conference for kids so that they could understand what was happening. 

We’re all going to be stuck inside for a while yet, and there are still a ton of decisions to be made. I say we cut our losses, stop the backflips on haircuts, and just follow what New Zealand do. It’ll probably get us out of this mess faster.

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This Astronaut Is Here To Help You Overcome Lockdown Loneliness

Step 1: Grab your old journal.

If you’ve been under self isolation or working from home for the past few days/weeks, you’ve probably noticed that we’re all well over the novelty of it by now. In fact, it’s starting to get dang lonely sitting at home all day. Believe it or not though, there are actually some experts in this department – enter the astronauts – and they’ve given us all some advice on how to make it through self isolation. 

Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly spent almost a full year in isolation on the ISS from March 27, 2015, to March 2, 2016. Over four space flights though, he spent a grand total of 520d 10h 33m in space. NASA is very precise, after all.

Writing in a New York Times op-ed, Scott Kelly gave everyone some tips on how to cope with being isolated.

His first was to pace yourself.

“When you are living and working in the same place for days on end, work can have a way of taking over everything if you let it,” he said.

“Take time for fun activities: I met up with crewmates for movie nights, complete with snacks, and binge-watched all of Game of Thrones – twice.”

Second was to go outside.

“One of the things I missed most while living in space was being able to go outside and experience nature. After being confined to a small space for months, I actually started to crave nature.”

Enjoy what we can

Getting moving once a day should be part of your quarantine schedule (just stay at least six feet away from others).”

Surprisingly, one tip was to keep a journal.

“NASA has been studying the effects of isolation on humans for decades, and one surprising finding they have made is the value of keeping a journal.”

“Writing about your days will help put your experiences in perspective and let you look back later on what this unique time in history has meant.

And finally, just know that we’re all connected.

“Seen from space, the Earth has no borders. The spread of the coronavirus is showing us that what we share is much more powerful than what keeps us apart, for better or for worse.” 

“All people are inescapably interconnected, and the more we can come together to solve our problems, the better off we will all be.”

So bust out your old journal and wash your hands. We’ll get through this, and we won’t even have to head to space to do it.

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