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Coronavirus: What is in the air?

Regardless what is going on ‘almost’ everywhere in the world, we are all striving to keep on going. Every day, I woke up, brush my teeth, put on clothes, some days make-up, some days, even before combing my hair I move to my office, just beside by bed, to start my online classes. I have lost track of how many cups of coffees and tea I have been taking per day, and how crazy I must look like when singing “All by myself, don`t want to be. All by myself, anymore”. Notice it has been only 3 weeks so far.

All this conversation going on made me have a dream foreseeing the perpetuity of this isolation condition. I have dreamed that our governments everywhere in the globe announced November as a new deadline for withdrawing reclusion. I woke up obviously drowned in existence anguish.

What if it happens? It has been hard enough to cope with it the first 3 weeks of it, how could we all be locked up in our houses for months? No schools to go, work only from home, not seeing friends and family. For those who are with their families is one thing, but for me who lives alone in a student residence in France is another thing. I was in complete refusal to abandon my bed till I reminded of those millions of people who faced similar or worst conditions in the past. I remembered of the Second World War.

I was 14 years old when I first read Anne Frank’s diary. It is a classical book of that period, so I do not have to dive into.  I believe most of you have already come across with it, in case not, this is a great opportunity to do it so. What it is important here it is to imagine how many years Jewish and other non-Aryans had to hide themselves in small rooms fearing losing their lives, which millions did.

At that time, the world was very different. They did not have as many resources as we have nowadays. The least rich of us would possibly have access to a phone and Internet. According to Statista, more than 59% of the global population have access to the Internet nowadays. Although it is not a rule that applies to everyone in the world,  technology exists. We can communicate much faster, reducing considerably the feeling of loneliness. Last night, I had videoconference with friends in Brazil and my sister in Ireland. We were 7, each one at their corners sharing a moment together.

The fact that every day, I (we) avail of technological tools to study and connect with friends, teachers and acquaintances made me think that if there is someone profiting of all this condition, it is the tech companies. They will make a great profit. On the 10th of March, it was registered a peak of 9,1 terabytes per second, equivalent to 2 million videos being watched in high definition at the same time. According to DE-CIX, one of the main monitors of the traffic on the Internet located in Germany, it was a world record. To learn more, click here.

Whilst on one hand travelling back in the past to compare our current situation to previous ones can gives us certain relief, as “It could be much worse”, still does not make it easier. The reason why is the Uncertainty factor.  We barely know WHAT is happening, WHY is happening and WHEN / IF it going to have an end.

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com


Moreover, I have been wondering WHAT ELSE is going on in the economic, political and social environments that we are no longer informed about. I know there were sever fires in Australia in February, but I have no idea if it is gone or not. What I know is that all of a sudden, nothing else matters. I was impressed at Le Monde homepage where it is virtually impossible to find articles not related to Coronavirus, though I must admit they have been doing a highly comprehensive coverage. 

I have taken a print screen of the most important newspaper in France, Le Monde. It is important to keep in mind that not because a subject is not been covered, it does not mean it does not matter. What else could have been covered that has been left out?
I have taken a print screen of the most important newspaper in France, Le Monde. It is important to keep in mind that not because a subject is not been covered, it does not mean it does not matter. What else could have been covered that has been left out?

Is it all on purpose?

Furthermore, I have seen many videos on the Internet with people asking questions. Some of them even claiming that Covid-19 was created and intentionally spread. I would not go that far, as it would be impossible to prove such strong affirmation and it is a dangerous path to take. Nevertheless, there are still other problems in the world being ignored. Every day, people are dying for many reasons, violence, poverty, drugs, suicide, but we do not get to learn about it if it is not coronavirus related. And before anyone of you coming telling me the number of deaths caused by COVID, I have been following it on this website: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/. From 1,378,937, there are 294,361 recovers, and 78,110 deaths, in all countries where coronavirus has been detected.

Yesterday, my classmates and I were discussing whether it is good or not keeping on seeing these numbers and if the Media should be or not exposing them very often. Is it helpful or harmful? I do not know. What I know is that it is not the first time society has faced pandemics: the Spanish Flu (1918-19), starting in the among soldiers in the USA, infected 40% of the world population and killed 30 million people; the Asian Flu or H2N2-Virus (1957), also started in China caused 2 million deaths; Hong-Kong or H3N2-virus (1968-69), as a mutation from the Asian Flu, caused 1 million deaths, and the most recent one Swine Flu (H1N1), who killed more than 300 million people in one year. Knowing this encourages me to believe that we have what it takes to survive. 

Despite being a very serious problem, it seems to me that the main issue related to Coronavirus is how fast it has been spreading around. Furthermore, the lack of knowledge of this virus contributes to increasing and spreading out fear. There is yet no cure for it, though Malaria treatment has been tested, no vaccines and no one seems to understand thoroughly how this new virus behaves. 

The incapacity of our governors everywhere in the globe to take measures in time has stood out as most strict measures were taken after the virus has reached almost all continents. In my home country, Brazil, the president was in complete denial until a while ago. He has been suspicious of have been infected by the virus (no one knows the truth). 

As from every situation we face, there is also a lesson to learn, one thing we can grasp from this one is that Society has made several breakthroughs, we avail of high tech, but we are still unable to deal with Global Health Issues. We are still weak at the very bottom of the Maslow pyramid of needs (Safety). And, as usual, the least riches will suffer the most. 

Patricia Costa

A point of view very interesting about the Global Health System comes from Bill Gates. I highly recommend it.

I am Patricia, 28 years old. A Journalist doing a master in International Management at IGR-IAE, Université de Rennes 1, Rennes, France @paty.costa.freire

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