Much as mask-wearing is currently a necessary evil and not only protects us from COVID-19 but, seemingly from colds and the flu, it will be wonderful when we can see smiling faces and actually recognize our friends and acquaintances. This pandemic has affected and changed the lives of everyone in one way or another and it is therefore not surprising that our fuses are shorter, and we are more easily exhausted.

There are those that are still working “as usual”, be it as a health-care worker, a teacher, a store or pharmacy employee, a truck driver or any other essential service providing for the feeding or well-being of their fellow man. Apart from the added burden of wearing a mask all day and carrying on their normal lives at home, they are in more danger of contracting the virus or of passing it on to others in their household. .

Most families are not accustomed to being constantly at close proximity and this can put a strain on relationships. Most of us are used to, and count on, social interaction and it is not all marriages that can with- stand being totally isolated. Children and young people need their friends to socialize, flirt and play with. Youth is especially hard hit in this pandemic. We all need a support system and, much as social media, television, radio and Netflix can help us wile away our time, this is not the same as human contact. FaceTime, Zoom and other sources of communication are great but do not replace face-to-face meetings.

There are those that are used to eating out in restaurants and this warm and satisfactory pleasure is missing. Takeout meals are a blessing, but it is not quite the same as being served and not having to do the dishes. And, how about all the small businesses that are facing such hard times that it may be hard to survive. Then there are those that have lost loved ones and those that have lost their jobs. Yes, we are all facing stressful times in one form or another. Maybe the masks cover up more misery and stress than we realise – we’ll all need big bear hugs and a lot of support when we can eventually get back to normal.

Just remember that the days are getting longer, spring is coming and so are vaccines.