Monday, March 1

Amid the horror, we also look back to this year of the virus in awe | Coronavirus


I’m sure everyone, after their first year of plague, feels totally shattered.

You can imagine them in Constantinople in late 541 AD, the survivors of Justinian’s plague saying to each other, “Well, that was GRIM!” If he had the disease, his body would be full of lumps and pain, then he would die. In the cities there was no place to bury the dead and the food supply was cut off.

And you can imagine them on New Year’s Eve toasting 542: “Maybe this year will be better!” (Hint: it wasn’t).

Or our brethren from 1347. That first year of the plague was just the beginning of a four-year streak of black plague, which claimed 200 million lives.

Or those who were left bewildered and tired at the end of the first year of the Spanish flu. They had just finished the First World War … And now this!

So we come to the end of our first year of plague feeling like we’ve been hit by a truck, even if we’ve just been inside for most of the year watching Netflix. We are the lucky ones. By the end of the year, more than 1.79 million people around the world have died from Covid-19.

Who, at the end of the era we call March 2020, couldn’t relate one bit to Donald Trump’s plea, March 29: “I wish we could get back our old life. We had the biggest economy we’ve ever had and we didn’t have death. “

Burnout is in part observing, absorbing, and participating in a great deal of anxiety, change, disclosure, uncertainty, boredom, confinement, illness, and death. But exhaustion is also the product of living a momentous period in history. Tiredness, and perhaps sadness too, comes from saying goodbye to our old life.

We need to take a break if we can’t imagine staying up after 10pm on New Years Eve or if we really can’t muster a lot of enthusiasm for the fireworks or list our self-improvement resolutions.

I mean, we just had our own plague! We still have our own plague! It was – and still is – HEAVY. We have death.

But, looking back at this first full year of the virus, some also wonder, amid the horror.

How often does the world change, completely, almost overnight? And how often do you experience this change almost everyone on the planet?

With the exception of rapidly accelerating global warming, if you’re lucky, the world changes mostly in increments – changes so small they are imperceptible.

At the beginning of the pandemic, a friend told me: “I thought that not much would happen in our life, it would be quite simple. But something happened! It’s happening! ”He was filled with awe (he was also full of coronavirus, but has since recovered well).

Not only Things happen, but the pandemic exposed what was already there but hidden in plain sight.

All systems, from supply chains to medical infrastructure, bureaucracy and governance, were tested during this pandemic. All leaders were put to the test, as were all citizens.

In addition to showing us our systems, the pandemic also showed us ourselves.

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus saw the crisis as a way to unmask who you really are: “Circumstances do not make man, they only reveal himself.”

Were we heroes or hoarders? Lifters or Incliners? Prone to freaking out or calming down?

In the early days it seemed like we were all together, and there was an almost cinematic and globalized aspect to the pandemic that made it seem like a story unfolding in some kind of order. What was happening in Wuhan would then happen in Italy, then it would happen in New York, and so on. Part of the horror and wonder of that period was that you knew exactly what would come next by watching the foreign news. Want to know where you are when your government imposes closure orders? Just call your friend in Rome who has been locked up for 30 days.

But then of course the story was fragmented, the narrative was broken into fragments which meant that no clear path could be guessed from it.

Ultimately, the pandemic showed us how individual we all are, and how a mix of chance, character, class, circumstances, and choices that you might have made years ago affected whether you had a good pandemic or a bad one. These choices acted as a hinge between his past and his highly individualized experience of the virus.

Maybe you intended to get out of an outdated relationship, but put it off, and now you were stuck in quarantine with them or maybe you were working abroad when the pandemic hit and now you can’t return home, or maybe you quit your job. in February. , intending to get a new one in March, and faced a jobless year on the horizon.

But you are here. And a new year is coming.

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www.theguardian.com

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