Alpha Omega’s Covid Year – A Parisian Tale24/07/2021
Dear fellow Alpha Omegans and friends,
I’m writing this article at a time where life in France is almost back to normal, but it was not the same story this time last year. As the pandemic spread across France a strict lockdown was imposed from March 17th to May 10th, 2020. As in the UK many dentists could not work during this tight lockdown but in May 2020, dental practices were able to reopen, and considering the job, dentists, hygienists and practice staff returned to work but under a strict protocol.
The situation seemed to improve during summer 2020 but cases rose and then from September 2020 till May 2021 all non-essential shops were closed. A 7pm curfew was imposed with the risk of a large fine if you were caught by the police. For dentists, this meant that patients coming for dental treatment late in the evening required proof of appointment.
As the vaccination programme started and numbers of infections began decreasing the curfew was pushed back to 9pm in May then 11pm in June and finally on June 20th completely abandoned together with the requirement to wear a mask outside.
As for all of us, this was an incredibly challenging time mentally, emotionally, and physically. I knew as European Regent that AO had to continue if not in person then online; our members and friends enjoyed the learning we offered and the opportunity for people to get together even virtually, to connect and discuss the profession they had dedicated themselves to was too important to lose. A hugely successful webinar programme was organized to maintain the link between the French Chapters and our members. We were amazed by the reception the online webinars received and just how keen members from across the French Chapters were to stay connected and stay learning during this time.
Now we have been able to resume in-person meetings and whilst Zoom webinars were great, everyone is delighted to be able to see friends and colleagues, reconnect, learn and socialise in person; including the speakers.
We are seeing a slowdown in the vaccination campaign with less than 50% of the population having received 2 doses of vaccine. Authorities are now fearing a new wave after the summer vacation period, especially with the new Delta strain spreading quickly.
If the pandemic has taught me anything it is to live in the moment, enjoy the pleasure of warm weather, the warmth of friendships both near and fare and most of all to stay optimistic – after all, all pandemics end at some point.