The coronavirus changed everything, now we live in a whole new world

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The coronavirus changed everything, now we live in a whole new world

Few who, even two months ago, when confirmed cases of new coronavirus outside China were still in the tens, could imagine how much this pandemic would shake the whole world.

Coronavirus is no longer just a Chinese problem. The world is much different today than it used to be: in one country after another quarantines, chaotic border controls, overcrowded hospitals, closed schools, kindergartens and colleges, desolate streets, paramedics in shelves, half empty shelves and rows in shops and house closures are part of the new everyday life.

Quarantine, self-isolation, social distance and social contacts, mortality rates, at-risk populations, testing, panic and crisis supplies are all part of the new vocabulary. We all keep track of the daily records of the number of infected and deceased in our country – where there are no deaths, thankfully – in the world.

Much of what we took for granted yesterday becomes risky or prohibited: traveling by plane, boat or public transportation, going to a concert, to a movie theater, to a game, to a cafe or restaurant, business meetings, handling, and in case of suspected infection. even leaving the house. Close contact or staying with more people becomes a source of anxiety, at least for those who are prone to it.

“Roller shutters go down all over Europe”

“Shutters are coming down all over Europe … We may be entering into a gloomy, involuntary social experiment that reveals everyday habits and practices that we will miss if they are eradicated and which could disappear surprisingly easily,” described this state of emergency by Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff.

“Thank you, I know that you are changing your habits and sacrificing yourself, and I know it is not easy. But all your sacrifices offer valuable contributions to the country,” said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who is facing not only the biggest challenge of his term these days, but probably and with the most difficult situation in Italy since World War II.

>> Quarantine all over Italy is a historic event of our time

As we have already written, Conte's decision to extend quarantine to the whole country, after the leak of the quarantine decision on the northern part caused the escape of residents, is an unprecedented historic event. That drastic measure should at least alleviate the epidemic, but it has upended the lives of the Italians.

Like other Europeans, they will, to a greater or lesser extent, have to become accustomed to discipline, renunciation of the good of the community, incommodation, isolation, restriction of the freedoms and privileges they enjoy – all that is more or less foreign to contemporary Westerners.

Can Westerners give up their comfort and freedom for the common good?

Much has already been said about the Chinese collectivist society, but also the Communist Party-led authoritarian political system suitable for the mass quarantine that virtually put an end to the epidemic in that country. It remains to be seen whether Italians, but also other Europeans and Westerners, have met this challenge.

For the people of Italy, life with an epidemic has become the new normal – and the death of those seriously ill has become, unfortunately, an integral part of that new normal. This number is measured in the hundreds every day, which is probably a tragic consequence of the escalation of the epidemic due to the late introduction of prevention measures. It is also a very sobering lesson for Croatia, which, at least in theory, can still prevent such a scenario, although some argue that what is happening in Italy awaits others.

Ingrid Pustijanac, a professor of musicology from Croatia who teaches at the University of Pavia in Italy a few days ago, told Index how coronavirus life looks like: “Discos don't work, restaurants and cafes are open until 6pm, but guests should drink at the table, not at the bar, to be more distance from the staff, and not to touch the bar too much, because now it is almost certain that the virus will survive on the surfaces for up to ten days, so apart from washing hands, it is recommended to keep a distance. standing a meter away, it looks like that distance is respected. It's a little weird, but we get used to it. But given the virus can be obtained from a person who has no symptoms, it's clear that we're all stressed. “

>> Croatian in Italian infectious center: Intensive care no longer exists

New normal from Italy to USA

In Italy, meanwhile, bars and restaurants are closed for two weeks, with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies. But even when the ban expires, it's hard to believe that public life will return to normal so quickly.

“We have a lot of space. We can go out, but we can't go to shops and businesses. You have to go in groups of three and leave a meter of distance between people,” American Krizia Ocejo, who lives in the Italian city of Anzio, tells NBC. the urgent need to travel to work, with a doctor or for food and medicine now needs a special permit: “They have to check your papers if you need to be outside, so today was daunting.”

But the United States is increasingly moving to this new normal. The ban on entry into the US from the European Union for thirty days, with the exception of travelers from the UK and US citizens, came into force on Friday, and later that day, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency because of the pandemic.

Across the country, public gatherings are banned and people, just like in Europe, are advised to stay at home or at least stay away from other people. Banning flights from the EU could push the edge of an already shaken airline.

Dozens of schools and universities have suspended classes, Broadway and Disney World have been closed until further notice, and numerous sports competitions have been canceled or delayed, from the NBA basketball league to MLS football league, MLB baseball league and NHL hockey league.

“The steps we are taking will absolutely save lives. We are all somehow confronted with this new reality,” said Dr. Amy Acton of the Ohio Department of Health.

The end of globalization or the opportunity for its reform?

That new reality may seem like the creepy dystopia we've only seen in movies and series so far. But it could have some positive consequences, just like World War II, for example. Quarantine and social distance measures, as well as a general drop in turnover, could trigger job reorganization: more work from home, fewer meetings, maybe even a shorter work week. Online shopping could gain additional momentum.

And given that we are running out of time to stop global warming, reducing massive intercontinental tourism might not be a bad change either. Of course, in the short term, transport, tourism, but also other sectors of the global economy will suffer a severe blow, and the global recession is certain.

The big question, though, is whether the free movement of goods and people, already endangered by populists like Trump, will survive this pandemic. On the other hand, this crisis will necessarily make countries unable to depend entirely on imports from, for example, China – that certain strategically important products, such as face masks, disinfectants or virus tests, must be able to produce, and not only to import.

It will also make us aware that the world today is more closely connected than ever, that we cannot isolate ourselves or want, and that the challenges we face are common because the virus knows no boundaries and cultural barriers. Hopefully, it will also encourage solidarity with its fellow citizens and responsibility, above all for itself and for its own family, and then towards society as a whole. And this will undoubtedly be a positive consequence of this natural disaster.

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The coronavirus changed everything, now we live in a whole new world

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