Guest blog: Days during COVID-19 – for the greater good

Teresa Garzon is a Key Account Manager at Patogen. She has a degree and PhD in biology and biochemistry from the Autonomous University of Barcelona. With previous experience in academia, she has now been working in the aquaculture industry for 10 years from both perspectives – producer and supplier. Her special area of interest, however, has always been fish health and disease prevention, with the view of making the industry more sustainable. In this blog, she describes how she is working during the Coronavirus lockdown.

I am one of the lucky ones that can still work and do it from home.  The industry we work for needs to keep going and it’s not only the staff that has to be healthy, but the fish too.

However, my “new normal” has a new worry: on one hand the exponential time I have been spending looking at exponential curves lately and, on the other hand, the lack of graphs for any other matters. Not only have other international problems disappeared (from our channels), we also don’t seem to have data to forecast how the industry is doing and if our “jobs from home” are going to stop tomorrow.

On a positive note, this new normal has brought to me some new learnings; I know now what acrostic poems are and the rules of pronunciation of double vowels in English, among other useful things, all thanks to my P2 and P3 children. All of this new knowledge has come to me in between work meetings and fish health data analysis, developing new personal skills, like how to talk in a Skype meeting about fish viruses without blinking while you see your children cutting each other’s hair on your garden decking!

Here, in the west, during this Coronavirus-Disease-2019 lockdown, far from the cities, our lives aren’t much different to an undetermined-length-of-time weekend. Here, we can go for a walk (or 2) and be outside, hardly seeing anyone (as usual) with the only difference that now, when crossing paths with other human beings (friend or not)  we change sides with nobody taking it personally and then we either have a 2-metre-distance short chat (about COVID-19) or only smile at each other (probably holding the breath for the next 2 metres or more and hoping that the other person doesn’t sneeze from the other side of our only-one-way narrow roads). Apart from that, the only other unusual thing is that our laundry lines may also contain a random bag of peas, after “disinfecting” our shopping!

For a 7 year-old, this is a “Coronavirus-holiday”, but I am trying to teach him something during this plague time, that I would like him to un-learn: “physical distancing”, although Spanish ways seem to be more effective for virus transmission. For work, I hope we re-learn that there is another way to create and resolve and we don’t always have to burn oil to meet up. I hope Earth gets something out of this break from human activity.

Now, everything is online: meetings and homeschooling and after these online responsibilities have finished, then it is time for the online fun available: party with your friends, video conference with grandpa, etc… I feel more socialised than ever.

Teams seems to be the new Skype (for work) and Instagram the new Facebook; I have not defined the most fashionable app for online social chats yet (I don’t doubt I will by the end of this) and I keep being asked to download Duo, Zoom, House Party, etc… I am lost, but I know now that distance is not a barrier. Millennials and Generation Z knew this; we just found out.

As a last note, I would like to say that human rights are universal, elderly people, vulnerable people, etc.: inclusion matters. It is an irony that in a time when we all want to live longer it has taken a pandemic to get us to think a bit more about our older generation; we hope to grow old too, we hope for respect.

For the greater good, stay home.

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