The end of days or the eve before a new dawn?

I am writing this article on 2 April 2020, when the status of the coronavirus pandemic is in full growth measure with more than a million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally and more than 51,000 deaths in total. We in California, along with most of the other states, are in lockdown status. A number of industries are permitted to function when designated as necessary for health and safety. Traffic is dramatically reduced and social activities are cancelled. As more and more states are forced into mandated lockdowns and everyone is locked into survival status, the future is uncertain.

Many of our activities as NDT providers, such as in refineries, power plants and associated equipment repair facilities, have cut down the technician and NDT requirements to a minimum. Technicians are being laid off or furloughed and staffing is operating at the minimum it takes to function. Some personnel can work from home; I have a home office with fully functional computers, printers and files.

On the other hand, I have only ventured outside the house on two or three occasions in the last two weeks! My medical appointments, for physical therapy and chiropractic care, part of my recovery from knee surgery, are gradually diminishing. I fall into the most susceptible age category and I am responding to the medical advice for that age group.

Families have to deal with children being out of school and now home full time, with attendant childcare requirements and home schooling. Someone has to brave the crowds at the supermarkets and scavenge for basic food supplies.

Some of our technicians had been working in Saudi Arabia and were forced into a 14-day quarantine before they could even begin work. Other refineries are working with a skeleton staff. But the outlook is uncertain. How long can companies continue to make payroll? Significant numbers of technicians have been forced into unemployment. How long can families survive with unemployment? How long will it take to return to pre-coronavirus status? The truth is that NDT will always be needed, but many of the smaller service providers may not survive the cutbacks and may never return to their present status.

We are living in extraordinary times! The closest I can come to a comparison is with the Second World War. I grew up in Scotland in the 1930s with rationing, queues, air raids, carnage on the battlefields and a shortage of basics. I was aged ten before I ever saw a banana! But there was a sense of finality as time went by and the end became foreseeable.

This global pandemic has a sense of ‘the end of the world’, with pundits struggling to make sense of it and political leaders floundering. Many industries will not recover. The post-pandemic world will be a new place with new ideas and perhaps recognition of global warming and the urgent need to confront it!

I look forward to the end of this pandemic, for surely there will be an end, and the opportunity to look back on this extraordinary time of crisis!

Comments by members

This forum post has no comments, be the first to leave a comment.

Submit your comment

You need to log in to submit a Comment. Please click here to log in or register.

<< Back