Hi. How are you? I have started many a text and WhatsApp with this over the last couple of weeks. I have renewed a friendship with someone from years ago. I have had long phone calls with friends that I have been meaning to arrange to meet for drinks for ages. I have rung my great aunt more times and sent more parcels (magazines, chocolate, tissues mainly) to her than I have collectively in the last year and I am so thankful that my parents now have a dongle and they’re not afraid to use it.

Living in a world battling covid-19 feels surreal, strange, scary. As someone who devours news, I am trying not to as it is almost overwhelming. Instead I am trying to limit myself to a bit of radio 5 live first thing, maybe a dip in to Emma Barnett and Adrian Chiles, the daily press conference from No. 10 and a little bit of the post-conference analysis, the 10pm news and maybe ‘Newsnight’ and sometimes a bit of ‘The World Tonight’ or Stephen Nolan and the occasional Coronavirus Newscast and then I might read a bit from a selection of newspapers. Ok, so that’s quite a bit of news, but I’m not watching it at lunchtime, so there, I am on a news diet, of sorts.

But in these myriad calls and messages, many people I speak to say the same, they feel overwhelmed with it, but equally, want to know as much about what is going on as possible. Maybe it is an attempt to make sense and maybe from that, to wrestle back some control of something that looms so large and you can feel so small in your response. At any time of national crisis or personal distress, our instinct is to be with others, to be there for friends or family, it feels counter-intuitive to not be together and it is so hard at times.

But thank goodness for the technology that enables us to have a semi, pretend, sort of night out, get together, moment with those we care about. Yes, many of us have had ‘zooms’ that resemble the opening credits of ‘The Brady Bunch’; we are peppered with Teams chats; WhatsApp called unexpectedly; Facetimed when our face is not camera ready and invited to House Parties from which we might wish we could make our excuses and leave early. But we are fortunate if we have the technology to enable all this and we are even more fortunate if we have people that want to check in on us and send us that, ‘Hi, how are you?’ message, by whichever means they use.

I suspect no one knows how long this will last or how it will go, but I do believe in human beings. I believe that most of us have compassion, resilience, inventiveness and spirit and have faith that we will help one another and get through this together.

Now, wash those hands and stay safe, all.