Al Seymour

Regrouping for the future

  • Image courtesy of the Bermuda Government

Bermuda, like many countries around the world, finds itself facing an uphill battle to regain its footing economically and emotionally after the impact of Covid-19, which has shattered much of the world’s financial machine.

Even America, the most powerful nation on earth, was not spared dreadful loss of life, with many thousands falling victim to an illness that has puzzled the world’s finest scientists.

With the coronavirus still very much a threat, despite a number of countries including Bermuda going about slowly resuming business activity, it is going to be a very challenging time. Misjudging the pace could trigger a resurgence and a nightmare for medical officials, who would be confronted with the unthinkable — a fresh attack from a disease capable of striking anywhere anytime.

There is no question that the need to get our economy ticking again is vital, as many families are hard-pressed to meet obligations that were never easy but made manageable via an income that often involved more than one job.

When the deadly Covid-19 reached our shores, the Government had little choice but to implement a lockdown to halt a disease that had already taken many lives in other countries. Without drastic measures in our small population, the alternative is unthinkable.

Sadly, there has been loss of life — and every life is precious — and in order to prevent the disease from moving throughout our communities, a shutdown of normal business activity was activated. It was a moment when a decision had to be taken on whether saving lives outweighed financial gain.

We were not alone.

New York is one of the most popular cities in the world, with a reputation for never sleeping, But it soon found itself as the epicentre of the virus of American soil, with hundreds of deaths daily.

Slowly but surely, the virus had entered US soil and, despite predictions earlier by Donald Trump that it would amount to nothing, at last report the US death toll was close to the 100,000 mark.

As a result, much of America had little choice but to lock down the country to avoid further tragedy. The impact of that move plunged the nation into economic chaos, with millions unable to support their families and also facing the threat of losing their homes.

This uncertain future became a matter few Americans could have anticipated. One man waiting in a free food line told a reporter he worked all his life, and never thought he would have to resort to standing in a food line in order to get by. That sentiment was echoed by many Americans who felt crushed by what was happening.

As the nation now inches towards reopening, with restrictions including the wearing of face masks and urging physical-distancing to avoid as much as possible further spreading of Covid-19, there is increasing concern for those still struggling to cope with a situation that has unknowns and whether the coronavirus will be ever brought under control.

Leading scientists have warned the US Government that without testing throughout the nation, the approaching winter could be devastating with many more victims. According to reports by several leading news sources, the US administration had been warned early about a potentially deadly virus, but the nation’s leadership gave little or no response.

With a presidential election only months away, it will be a question for the people to decide on America’s future in light of the controversial response over such a deadly virus.

Regrouping by any country, including Bermuda, will require full co-operation and sacrifice from every section of community life, as the job ahead involves rebuilding confidence and hope that no stone will be left unturned in helping the most vulnerable.

Here in Bermuda, the struggle will be far from easy, since much of our income is derived from a tourist industry that perhaps will return — but not overnight. It is a stressful time for our island, but if we stay focused on finding ways to help each other, it could shorten the length of this dreadful, economic storm that has affected so many lives and placed heavy burdens on family life.

However, we must never lose hope that we will get through this; just as we do after dealing with a powerful hurricane.