Not to come over all Pollyanna on you, but amidst the general gloom and prospects of doom, some shoots of real humanity have come through.

Social media, which can be a real cesspit, is full of folks making offers to help those who can’t much help themselves right now.

I expect these better instincts to become increasingly evident as we all try to come to terms with the fact that this is for real.

Life for all of us will change drastically and we have to make the best of it.

Like most of the world, I find myself in the midst of what should have been a really busy week, chairing stuff at the Aye Write book festival – one of the early casualties of the shutdown.

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My trip to the galleries (and watering holes) in sunny Barcelona has gone the way of all travelling flesh, but it is always wise to reflect on how much more stressful it has been for people trying to come home from places where borders are shutting and airlines grounding their fleet.

One friend of mine, having the cruise of a lifetime in her new-found retirement, quite literally jumped ship in Florida and bought tickets home for herself and her spouse.

A huge and expensive disappointment, but better by far to be home and relatively safe rather than on a ship whose air conditioning will involuntarily spread any viral contamination.

Another is currently in Lanzarote, due to fly back today after a week spent in a locked down hotel, able only to exit to the supermarket and farmacia next door.

Not quite the sun-kissed winter break of her dreams. Apparently even the sun has gone in a huff too.

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I recognise these are the problems of privileged folk, a stark contrast to the many people in so many different businesses who wonder what awaits them in the life expectancy of their employment.

Not just restaurants, pubs, travel and leisure but a retail sector where fewer and fewer people feel able to go out and spend.

To fear for your income at the same time as fretting about your health and that of those to whom you are close is the worst kind of double whammy.

The frontline staff in this unfolding natural disaster have even more cause for concern.

Our NHS staff are no different from anyone else in terms of domestic responsibilities, yet are expected to keep going to work in an environment where they may lack adequate protection in a site of maximum personal risk.

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This is such a fast moving scenario that everyone, not least our political leaders, is having to run fast to try and keep up with the new information gleaned from frantic scientific research in world wide laboratories.

Yet here, too, there are comforting signs of maximum co-operation and sharing of vital information.

Here, too, is a collective effort in the race to find a vaccine which may be effective in stemming the tide of a virus for which nobody could have prepared.

There is always an exception to the rule, and unsurprisingly it is the American president, whom the Germans accuse of trying to re-locate one of their vaccine production companies to the States, in exchange for billions of dollars and exclusive use of the product.

If there is an unworthy instinct in a crisis, rest assured Donald Trump will find it.

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Fortunately for his fellow citizens, the federal system in the US has allowed individual states to ignore him and take whatever protective measures they deem essential.

Back on our own patch, I fear for the health and wellbeing of those who have come to rely on food banks and all the other fragile safety nets in their lives.

I worry about those for whom working from home is simply not an option.

But I celebrate everyone who has taken the thought that they really are their brother and sister’s keeper to its logical conclusion.

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