Coronavirus Catches Up


The first blow landed in the week before deadline, and slightly blindsided us. In terms of employee average age, we are neither a particularly young company, nor particularly old, but there are several of us who have at least one school-age child (I have three) and none of us were happy to hear on the Wednesday that home schooling would start again on the Monday. Annoyingly from the perspective of story-telling and picture building, we don’t have a water cooler, but if we did, we would definitely have been discussing home school hell around it, albeit physically distanced, naturally.

The second blow was equally undetected and felt at the time like a haymaker, but to be honest, it was more to do with the cumulative effects of a good old-fashioned one-two than the actual power of the individual punch. In terms of the human aspect of things, we have had a “lucky” crisis. We all know somebody who has had COVID, of course. I have a nephew in Spain, a niece in Germany and a brother and his wife in the United Kingdom who all went into quarantine. More worryingly still, my 91-year-old mother contracted it in her nursing home, just before she was due her first jab. (She had virtually no symptoms, has made a full recovery and has now caught up with her AstraZeneca jab; other vaccines are available.) But the point is, none of us had caught it. Until Monday morning, when it turned out we had our first case, followed in very short order by our second. At the time of writing, other tests are pending.

The office hasn’t been fully staffed since the first lockdown back in March 2020 (gosh, that seems a long time ago), but since last fall, the majority of us have come in three or four days a week, if not more. The realization that a couple of our colleagues had the virus, and the obvious concerns for their health (both seem fine for now), plus the forced switch to full home office just a day or two before deadline was all a little discombobulating.

We know the system works. This isn’t virgin territory for us; indeed, I’m very proud of the newspapers we turned out during that first lockdown. But we also know the process takes longer when the production team aren’t working side-by-side (but two meters apart). There is also a curious factor which is, I suspect, generational. When I began my journalistic career, nothing was digitized, everything was paper-based and we used typewriters rather than computers. Although I have got better with time, I still find I am more accurate proofreading from paper than on screen.

All of which, I suppose, is an extended plea for your patience. The Budapest Business Journal will continue to come out on time, and will continue to be dedicated to bringing you the best in business journalism from Hungary. It is possible the next few issues will have more typographical or spelling errors than usual. If so, that is my fault, and mine alone, and I apologize for it in advance.

I guess all that is left is to wish you a good, if doubtless slightly odd national holiday on Monday, March 15, when Hungary marks the start of the 1848 Revolution against the Habsburg Empire. More than that, stay safe.

Robin Marshall


This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of  March 12, 2021.

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