Another day of our new normal, which still feels anything like normal. It never will, I suspect, but it’s beginning to look like we may have quite a bit of time to adjust to this altered reality.
While there’s still no clarity around how long the Covid-19 crisis – and all its attendant restrictions – is likely to last, Leo Varadkar hinted strongly the other night that it may be with us for some time to come. In his TV address on St Patrick’s Day the Taoiseach said it’s now expected to continue “well into the summer.”
This is no surprise. Indeed, the policy of “flattening the curve” has as its aim the continuation of the pandemic for a longer period, in order to avoid a situation where the health service gets overwhelmed in the first weeks of the outbreak and, by doing so, to reduce the anticipated number of fatalities.
Flattening the curve of Coronavirus infections in this country means, then, that significant number of new cases are likely to be confirmed each day for several more months. Given this, it follows that the kind of restrictions we’re living with now will have to stay in place for months as well. While it’s impossible to put a timeframe on this, we could be talking about the end of the year and maybe beyond that too.
Narrowing the focus in sharply, that kind of potential timeframe has obvious implications for when the on-field GAA action might resume. If, as now appears certain, the current restrictions – including the crucial social distancing provision, to which we’re all adapting – are still in place in high summer, then the best that could be expected is an enormously truncated Championship. It’s difficult, to the honest, even seeing that kind of outcome happening.
The unfinished business that was the League is clearly now beyond rescuing. Soon enough the same conclusion may have to be drawn about the Championship as well.
Already the first Championship match due to be played this year – Galway’s joust with New York over in Gaelic Park on 3rd May – has been postponed. In announcing that postponement, the GAA said that what to do with this fixture “will be considered at a later date and in the context of the anticipated overall re-drawing of the national fixtures calendar for 2020.”
That re-drawing can’t be finalised until there’s more clarity about when matches might resume again. And so we’re back once more at Square One, where we’re contemplating the crazy new world we find ourselves in, one we’re condemned to inhabiting for an indefinite period during which time we’ve no clear idea about what’s facing us from one day to the next and where any notion of making plans for a number of weeks into the future is utterly futile.