EMPTY supermarket shelves, panic buying and worry about ‘tomorrow’: the coronavirus is here and, understandably, there’s anxiety and panic across the country – across the world.

Born after World War II, I can only guess at the anxieties and unhappiness experienced then: loved ones going off to fight, maybe never to return alive; blackouts - and bombs falling from the sky; shortages and rationing. But one thing, at least, common to both the war and to coronavirus is uncertainty and, with that, anxiety, panic (and possible loss of loved ones).

During WWII, something very positive did emerge: comradery – human beings helping other human beings; people supporting people.

Easy for the Government to declare: “People over seventy years of age may soon have to self-isolate in their homes for four months.”

Imagine an elderly and/or frail person who has no family members living nearby – or at all: isolated, alone and unable to go out for their shopping or to mix with other people for a third of a year (at least). Older people are often without computers, or computer skills – leaving them without internet access to order their basic supplies. Their worries, fears, suffering and loneliness can only be imagined by those younger and more in control of their lives. That poor, lonely, elderly person could be your next-door neighbour, or someone living nearby to you.

This could be our chance (all of us) to make a difference to someone struggling, whether elderly or frail or worried about their situation. As in WWII, we could help and provide support to other human beings who have even more problems than ourselves. We could help each other. And, maybe, instead of just thinking about ‘me’ at this time, and whether to add several more packs of pasta or toilet rolls to our trolleys, we could try and make a difference to others – and by ‘pulling together’, we might just begin to improve the state of humanity.

In most cases there’s someone worse off than ourselves. Never forget that saying, so true: what goes around, comes around.

Sally Maslin