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Reassessing Our Priorities — and keeping a cool head

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Reassessing Our Priorities — and keeping a cool head

Mon, 30/03/2020 - 00:24

Diving can bring us so many joys, and it surely will again in the not-too-distant future. It is just on the short to medium-term that many activities must be halted in order to deal with the virus.

Diving will still be there on the other side of the outbreak—it is not going anywhere—at which point, dive operators will eagerly be awaiting divers, welcoming us all back as patrons.

A good cup of coffee is always conducive for some straight thinking I find

Who would have thought that the day would come when I would publicly state that there are more important things in life than diving. After all, the aquatic environment has been my passion and calling for as long as I can remember. I was that toddler on the beach collecting starfish and small crabs in my red bucket, the public swimming pool was my preferred playground after school, and I specialised in aquatic ecology for my master's degree, not to mention taking up diving early on and becoming an underwater photographer.

That day has now come. In these trying times, we have suddenly been thrust into a new reality laden with uncertainties, if not fear, for the short to long-term consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. We now need to reassess what is really important and dear to us—such as the well-being of others and keeping our societies working.

Sporting tournaments and major events such as the Olympics have been postponed along with many other sorts of gatherings while we wait this one out.

Diving can bring us so many joys, and it surely will again in the not-too-distant future. It is just on the short to medium-term that many activities must be halted in order to deal with the virus.

Diving will still be there on the other side of the outbreak—it is not going anywhere—at which point, dive operators will eagerly be awaiting divers, welcoming us all back as patrons. In the meanwhile, I am sure they will appreciate you letting them know that you intend to come back.

Meanwhile there are so many other meaningful activities to keep us busy. There are always plenty of things in need of a fix or an upgrade, as well as things to learn and preparations to be made for when business resumes normal operations—which it will.

So, stay cool and make the most of the situation. We are all in this for the duration.

In that regard, I have another plea: Please heed the advice from the proper authorities and listen and learn from the scientific community, those who know the most about the virus and the best way to deal with the situation.

In particular, resist sharing dubious news and “tips” on social media and from so-called influencers. Many of these are fake or unfounded and therefore potentially harmful.

Knowledge and sound judgement are our strongest weapons. In fact, they are our only weapons currently, as we do not yet have any vaccines against the virus itself, but we can restrict or sever its pathways.

A virus is little more than a stump of genetic code, just 30 genes in this case, in the form of mRNA, encased in a protective shell of proteins and lipids. It is such a simple structure that it is debatable whether it really is a lifeform at all. In any case, you may think of it as a biological automaton, a mindless machine that automatically follows a predetermined sequence of operations—a bit like the ghosts in the classic game of Pacman. We cannot stop them yet, but we can avoid them, and thanks to our scientific insights, which are increasing by the day, we are also able to change the playing field to some degree—hence, the restrictions and social distancing now in place.

Stay safe, keep a cool head and we will meet on the other side.

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