The world has seen better days, for the first time since the 1918 Spanish Flu we are facing a global pandemic. Given how connected are world is, the risks as we many peoples around the world are living in close proximity to the natural world it was only a matter of time. The world has responded by closing down borders, having people stay at home and social distancing to minimize the spread so that this novel-coronavirus won’t overwhelm our healthcare systems.
Nearly a third of the planet is in lockdown, our movements being restricted in ways not seen at any point at such a scale in our living memory. Our ability to travel has evaporated as the cases and death caused by the novel-coronavirus has spread across the globe. What was normal at the start of the year has been replaced with people trapped in their homes, as at risk populations fear the spread of the virus and some people who don’t understand or care about the risk chafe against these increasingly strident restrictions being used to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The way many of us have worked has had to change radically and quickly while other businesses such as tourism, airlines and travel have collapsed under the threat of the virus. Meanwhile the bodies pile up across the world, while China which has flattened their curve faces the grim task of restarting a form of normalcy even if it can’t be what it was before.
Here I am just trying to find something to write, something to do while I am under a nationwide lockdown in Colombia. If I were to be caught outside where I am staying, I could be arrested or sent to the airport to be kicked out of the country. It’s hard just trying to stay busy, finding something to do. This situation will force me to sit and focus on my writing.
I know many of us have to find ways to kill time, as you can only watch Netflix or YouTube for so long. It feels like the world is on pause, as media production has stopped, movie theaters are closed and concerts, parks and anywhere where people sought to gather have now become ominous risks to public health.
A cascade of sports leagues have fallen to the virus, as many seasons have been put on pause and the world waits for it the assault of the novel coronavirus to flatten by the scale and breath of the actions meant to curb its infection and march of death.
Has the world ever stopped like this, where so many people are barred from leaving their home? It has happened in epidemics but never on a global scale but it was always going to happen it was a trigger that was always going to be pressed at some point and were we ready for it and will we be ready for it next time.
Will we take the lessons we learn from COVID-19 to give consistent funding for the research needed not just for treatments and vaccines for this virus but for the next one? It can happen 2 year from now or maybe not for another generation but it will happen again. The global nature of our world, the speed of movement of people allowed for the virus to spread to every corner of the Earth. It is the risk we pay for a globalized world and how will this change the way we travel in the future?
When will we be able to go to an airport without the risk of catching COVID-19? Or without having to isolate ourselves for weeks whenever we arrive to our destination. In these uncharted time all we can do is realize that we can be in it together, that we are united in our physical isolation at a point when it has never been easier to get your message out in the world even if it gets lost among all the clutter, it can reach and connect people beyond the artificial constructs of nations and national identity.
I am going to turn a blank page into a world, a universe, I want to create something of my own that can have a life beyond my mind even if its small, even if its irreverent. I have failed to do it out of my own feelings of inadequacy. I want to use this time as I am forced to stay in one place as my change to get away from the distractions and to write a story, any story that can be my beginning to forge my own path even as the world faces an uncertain road back to maybe not what we knew as normal before but a new version of normal.