This song is likely to get stuck in your head.
The Middlesex-London Health Unit released its own sea shanty on social media Tuesday, featuring four team members singing words of COVID-related inspiration to help weather the storm.
“Soon may the vaccine come to bring relief to the strugglin’ done, one day we’ll see loved ones and hug our friends and go,” are the lyrics of the chorus, sung to the tune of the whaling song “Wellerman.”
Sea shanties have become a trend on social media, particularly on Tik Tok, where users take a traditional sailors folk song and create their own lyrics for it.
In this version, Dr. Chris Mackie, the region’s medical officer of health, Dr. Alex Summers, the region’s associate medical officer of health, and Kelly Morris, a public health nurse, each sing a verse of their own and come together on the chorus.
Dan Flaherty, the health unit’s manager of communications, leads on the guitar.
“I love to sing, and singing has got me through this pandemic,” said Morris, who now heads up one of the health unit’s contact tracing teams. “Nursing was my second career choice, music was my first, so I’m happy to be able to integrate the two together.”
Morris said she did not pick the verse she sang, but the words resonated with her.
“Wash your hands and wear a mask,
staying apart it’s a lot to ask,
please stay strong and stay on task,
the results will really show.”
“It’s a lot to ask, to be distanced from my family and friends,” she explained. “But I do it, because I know that it’s important. In the grand scheme of things, we all play a part. It’s small, or we feel it’s big, but it’s a small part to play for the bigger picture.”
Message of hope and strength
Flaherty described Morris as someone in public health who represents the many people who’ve been redeployed to the case and contact management side of the pandemic response.
“I thought it was really important that we got to see her, and we got to hear her, and we got to hear her singing those words that really are meant to reassure people,” he said.
“We hear a lot from Dr. Summers and we hear a lot from Dr. Mackie through the virtual media briefings and the interviews you do … but I don’t think a lot of people knew they could both carry a tune.”
Flaherty said it was a bit of a struggle to make it work. They first got together on Microsoft Teams to try and record together, before realizing they’d need a base track and to record individually.
The lyrics, he said, were written by a colleague and their child and were then shared at a team meeting.
“Soon may the vaccine come is our chant for the year I think,” added Morris.