• Morgan Fagg

ACRadio update #4

Good afternoon Athlone. I hope you are all well and safely inside your warm homes.

This is my fourth update from Madrid since we started our Lockdown here 3 weeks ago and it is unclear when these restrictions could be lifted.

The figures in Spain are terrifying and always grim and last week, I went to bed wondering how many of my neighbours might be dying or dead.

Almost a thousand people died yesterday and that represents about 10% of the total deaths in Spain and that is only about 1% of the total number of known cases here in Spain with figures reaching 110.000 yesterday.

I think it safe to say that our new reality has focused us to see things differently and globally I imagine there will be a political price to pay for our unpreparedness.

The UK was very slow to act and now has 33,000 cases and America downplayed Coronavirus as some kind of mass media hoax for too long which means they have had almost as many new cases as the UK has had and they now have a quarter of a million cases.

2 days ago, I was out shopping at 8 pm and I got to see, hear and feel the beautiful and simple gesture of people clapping from their balconies.

It was very moving and I have shared the video with Athlone Community Radio in the hope that people will see the resilience and appreciation of the empty streets yet packed apartments when a siren sings its song.

If there is a way to show our appreciation to Athlone Community Radio, perhaps they will remind viewers how to do that because we need to appreciate the people in our community and the work that they do.

I have not witnessed the mass casualties that Madrid has seen nor can I imagine how hard Emergency Services have been hit or how stressful this maintained pace must be on overworked doctors and nurses.

What I have observed from my window this week and over the last few weeks, is the cold and the rain and I believe Madrid or Mother Nature, if you will, is cleansing this city of contaminates.

In a city with a population the size of the island of Ireland, air quality has been an issue especially without sufficient rain and hot Summers and very controversial environmental policies that tried to restrict driving in the city centre to more eco friendly cars.

The irony being that my girlfriend wears facemasks to protect her from Coronavirus that I bought for environmental protests against Madrid’s pollution problems and in-action.

Today, the media is reporting a 55% reduction in air pollution in Spanish cities.

I have no idea how long this Lockdown will continue nor how bad things could be even after the Coronavirus Curve peaks in Spain.

But I do think that, Coronavirus will give us an opportunity to revaluate our priorities and make changes for a better future.

We will need to start planning for tomorrow and the destruction we saw in the Amazon Rainforests over the Summer would suggest to me that we were spiralling out of control in 2019.

Let’s applaud the hospital worker, the cleaner, the bin man and the pizza delivery man, the taxi driver, the teacher, the soldier and the carer. The immigrant picking fruit and the farmer who feeds us.

Let’s forget the stock broker’s impressive wealth. Let’s recognise our health and I encourage everyone in Athlone who is living in a populated area or street, to start to clap and cheer on those working on the ground. Do like Italy and Spain, wait until 8 and let our gratitude rain down.

We don’t have a lot of balconies in Athlone but open your windows or even open your front door, show your support. Shout it from the rooftops and start today. Clap with me, it is as easy as 1,2,3.

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