“My own personal testimony to what it is like to witness a PANDEMIC pass through the window”
By Gerald Thomas @copyright – New York, March 24 2020
We have never seen anything remotely close to this. Nothing like it in times of war or peace.
This is completely unprecedented. I still have to wrap my head around this, take a long breath (lungs allowing) to try focusing on the day to day progression of events, news, reports, images only to finally realize that I have never been or seen anything remotely close to this.
Whenever in this life would I ever had imagined a world accruing the staggering number of nearly 400 thousand cases of Coronavirus, affecting almost every single country ? Whenever in this life would I ever have imagined the Italy that we all so love, plagued by 6 thousand deaths in one and a half months?
Other than in a World War where the extreme scenario is death, destruction and devastation, in sixty five years I have not seen an empty (completely empty, quiet, somber and vigilant New York City. Not in the aftermath of 9/11, not in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I cannot recall a time in recent history when a potential enemy (or a virus, or anything else for that matter) has reshaped our way of lives, kept us indoors and away from a social life, scared of one another and…. Well, realizing that the chain of supply and demand is as feeble as a heartbeat, as feeble as an infant taking a gasp.
There’s nothing in the grocery stores. All restaurants are closed, no cinemas, no theaters; nothing is open which has to do with a public gathering. No church going, no synagogues, no temples. Jobs gone. Disappeared. From the small business owner to the airline, ship and hotel industries all but gone.
No, never like this. I imagine that maybe 102 years ago, during the Spanish Flu.
I have been trying to keep the spirits up, have tried posting exaggerated jokes on social media,
Have tried not confronting these ghostly and STAGGERING figures of death or infection, whether it is Italy, England, Spain or here, the epicenter of it all (lately), New York.
No SARS, no N1H1, no Ebola has ever reached or spread so quickly around the world – from its inception in China. I have not witnessed a time in History where the news, local, international on any and every sort of media has been devoted SOLELY to one and one concern alone: the Coronavirus pandemic.
Images of patients scattered through a Spanish Hospital corridor, images of countries closing their borders afraid of the “outside scare”, images of masked and enveloped people roaming around the streets of capitals and all around in this world murmuring to themselves: ”Stay Home!” whilst rubbing their hands in soap and sanitizers, accepting curfews and control measures of all kinds, more than ever. More than EVER.
Conspiracy theories slowly fading and – most importantly – a president such as Donald Trump who, firstly, refused to even acknowledged its danger to declaring a national emergency and banning flights from Europe and elsewhere, softening up and accepting the word ‘pandemic’ instead of telling people to relax.
If anybody had told me that I would be witnessing the system grinding to a halt leaving us all stunned, TV anchors reporting from home, online schooling and online everything, whether it’s during our self isolation or quarantine, I would certainly dismissed it as an apocalyptic forecast, as so many since I was born.
I am afraid.
I know this is only the beginning. Ten days ago, life in the USA was normal and I was returning from a trip to Cancun. Yes, this is only the beginning.
“I would have fixed that,” Mr. Trump would jump in his own defense. Well, that was in the past. Now he has experts come to the microphone even if, at the flip of a coin, he changes his mind and teases their field of expertise.
Last week, Trump accepted (or conceded) that we were heading for an economic depression “the likes of which we’ve never seen” (to paraphrase his silly use of language. And for Trump to speak publicly about a depression, is to accept his only potential victory banner for this year’s presidential election.
Yes, a national depression and a world recession. Trump is well used to this and thrives in this atmosphere since economic blackmail is what he’s an expert in, the bully, the crass man who shouts: “you’re FIRED”, this compulsive LIAR who invests in personal tweets in the middle of the night, blasting actors in Hollywood and calling the free press “the enemy of the people”, this ignorant dude who divides the world into “winners and losers”, Donald Trump is the one who seems to only demand loyalty and his profound need for personal praise, the propensity to blame others, the lack of human empathy, the penchant for rewriting history, the disregard for expertise, the distortion of facts, the impatience with scrutiny or criticism. For years, skeptics expressed concern about how he would handle a genuine crisis threatening the nation, and now they know.
If, in the past – crises of such a dangerous order were created by decree – such as a WAR – and, thus, a result of human creation involving human adversaries, this time it’s different and baffling.
Mr. Trump’s performance on the national stage in recent weeks has put on display the traits that Democrats and some Republicans consider so jarring — the profound need for personal praise, the propensity to blame others, the lack of human empathy, the penchant for rewriting history, the disregard for expertise, the distortion of facts, the impatience with scrutiny or criticism. For years, skeptics expressed concern about how he would handle a genuine crisis threatening the nation, and now they know.
We have never seen anything remotely close to this. Nothing like it in times of war or peace, this is completely unprecedented. While I am trying to wrap my head around this, take a long breath (lungs allowing) and try focusing on the day to day progression of events, news, reports, images only to finally realize that – on an hourly basis: I have never been or seen anything remotely close to this.
Yes, it has passed and surpassed the point of humor, satire.
I am totally scared.