There have been many outbreaks across history but all of them have occurred in the far reaches of history well away from the modern day. In late December 2019 that changed as a coronavirus sprung up in Wuhan, China and began took hold of a new host for it to spread into, the human race. Now it has become a war against the unseen, for at least awhile the epidemic that would become a pandemic would take advantage of the connections between, people and places using air travel and tourism and business to reach most nations on Earth.
With the human population of the planet past 7.8 billion (according to https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/) we were due for a virus to make the jump from animal to humankind. It was going to happen no matter what, this was as inevitable as the sun rise or sunset. Humans are a unprotected population that these protein encased RNA machines could use to expand their reach and COVID-19 has and continues to have a devastating impact on people across the globe.
Over the course of the many hotspots within the global outbreak social distancing a term no one even knew became the first line in our haphazard defense against this unseen pathogen. Taken together with self-isolation, elimination of mass or minor gatherings, borders being closed, people staying in doors and people pausing their normal routines and you can only say that this pandemic has changed the fabric of our world even if temporary that hasn’t been seen in peace time.
As a travel I took for granted the ability to travel, now with a significant portion of the human family I am in a national wide quarantine that leaders in Colombia helps to stem the tide against the growing cases Colombia now faces. No matter who you are or how you want to travel many countries are closed, if only to impede the speed at which the virus is touching every corner of the planet.
Hollywood is shutdown, people who would on a normal day would be working are at home, kids who would be in school are having school suspended, learning online instead. The markets tanked, taking trillions off of the market in everything from stocks, bonds to funds. COVID-19 was a pause not just on our normal lives but on how we engage and interact with each other.
The deaths who are not numbers but people who are loved and longed for continues to increase at rates that poise to overwhelm every medical system they have touched if countries, individuals and groups don’t change how they engage with each other. The Prime Minister of the UK Boris Johnson have become infected with COVID-19 and the people who get the disease face not a battle of days but weeks or longer with those who have compromised immune systems or are elderly having to face the reaper.
What will the world look like post this crisis, how will it further divide us in these chaotic times? There are countries where sounds of traffic and a view of smog have been replaced by quiet streets and clear skies. Across the world all sports have stopped, communities have had to find new ways to connect if only to stem the tide from being in either self-imposed and mandated isolation.
The world might have to find a new normal, the way we were at the end of 2019 will not be what we will be at the end of this year or at least until a vaccine is created that can turn this monster that has taken tens of thousands of lives and turn it into just another nuisance. We are so far from that point, as the cascade hits country after country, like a invisible tsunami, crashing against stressed and ill prepared medical systems and threatens to shred them into twisted versions of what people see them to be.
This is how we begin the third decade of this millennium, under a growing pile of bodies, as the virus makes our body its new reservoir for it to make home. The goal right now is to hold back the flood of patients, to flatten the curve to prevent our health systems from being overwhelmed by the sheer unimaginable numbers of those with COVID-19.
The focus now is shifting to mitigation as the United States and Europe rise to be the centre of this viral storm. China has quieted and the west now faces the demon. May we stay connected even if we must be distance, may this lead to new ways to engage and interact as well as be a harbinger of what we risk if we are not prepared for the risks that are always waiting for their moment to strike.
A vaccine is a year or two away from becoming a reality, so until then and maybe from this point on, like 911, we will think of life before and after the pandemic, when the gun put to the head of every nation was not a bomb, or money but a virus that changed the calculus, that revealed our weakness in face of its ability to spread.
To everyone out there, stay safe, keep away from each other, turn physical gatherings into online ones, may we each play a role in protecting those who can’t protect themselves from this invisible demon. May we turn the corner with as little heartache and death as possible and may our new normal be a better and more informed normal. May the clear skies of cities around the world be a marker of our influence on the world that gave us all life. That we must protect it before it is too late, that the global fight against global warming like this virus are just omens of things to come if we continue on without a concern for those who will come after.