Sat | May 30, 2020

Coronavirus’ side effect: Home, sweet home!

Published:Monday | April 6, 2020 | 12:27 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Leonard Sinclair spends family time with his children, four-year-old Lenmar and two-year-old Lenora, at 2 Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston, on Sunday. As COVID-19 and curfews redefine the boundaries of movement for Jamaicans, many are using the time to bond more at home.
Leonard Sinclair spends family time with his children, four-year-old Lenmar and two-year-old Lenora, at 2 Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston, on Sunday. As COVID-19 and curfews redefine the boundaries of movement for Jamaicans, many are using the time to bond more at home.

As Leonard Sinclair stirred his bubbling pot of ital stew yesterday, he marvelled at how the novel coronavirus that has filled the world with fear has, paradoxically, drawn him closer to his family.

COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, has infected more than 1.2 million people worldwide and killed nearly 70,000.

But even as the outbreak has dominated headlines and upended lives and livelihoods, the Rastafarian’s home at 2 Marcus Garvey Drive seemed an oasis amid the chaos.

While their mom goes out to work, the self-confessed hustler juggles being head cook and bottle-washer with keeping a watchful eye on his two-year-old daughter and four-year-old son. Bathing? Check. Feeding? Check? Entertainment? YouTube!

“Normally I would sell on Saturdays. Sometimes I go out when they are asleep,” he said, explaining that with an islandwide curfew in place to contain the spread of the virus, he stays put after dark.

“A me bathe them a morning time and cook. They are mostly into the Internet,” said Sinclair, who said he drew on the caregiving values his own father displayed during his youth.

Jamaica recorded its first coronavirus case on March 10, triggering a sequence of clampdowns that have shuttered schools, limited opening hours for some businesses, and limited in-office work and movement for people older than 65 years old.

An 8 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew running from April 1 to 8 has also ground nightlife to a halt.

Meanwhile, 66-year-old Violet Bailey, who lives next door to the Sinclair family, shared that COVID-19 has caused her to spend a lot of time with her grandson, Kevaughn Burke, who is a year old. She lamented, however, that the creeping spread of the virus has put her – and others – on edge. Her income streams have also dried up.

“Mi usually do little washing, but mi haffi stay even now in di yard. ... Since corona, there is no work, and that means no money, nothing at all,” she told The Gleaner.

Another resident explained that he, too, has been spending a lot more time with his family. Though he works sometimes at night as a security guard nearby his home, he visits his family on breaks to ensure that the family is fine - something he wouldn’t have always done before the emergence of COVID-19.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com