The World Stands Still

Around January, a mysterious new respiratory illness began to spread rapidly throughout China. At first, through it´s ambiguity, little was known about it other than it mirrored symptoms of pneumonia and was suspected to have originated from one of Wuhan´s wet markets, a birthplace of the previous SARS epidemic. In an effort to quell the growing inevitability of spread, the city of Wuhan was closed in hope that disease would not escape China’s borders. Then in the end of January, a few cases popped up outside China, such as in Japan, Thailand and the United States. Come February, those few cases became thousands, with the situation evolving  into an unforeseen, unstoppable pandemic. Now, halfway through March, every country has been consumed with the deprived reality of fighting against COVID-19. With all previous commotion and new stories having subsidised to incessant talks of the virus, a collective hush falls over an isolated world as we all wait to see what will become from the befuddling, terrifying story we are living in. 


The countries hit hardest by the coronavirus, such as Italy and China, help teach a lesson in regards to this global struggle. In Italy, the number of reported coronavirus cases is over 35,000, with nearly 3,000 deaths, rivalring that of China´s fatalities. The ransacked country was eventually placed on lockdown on March 9, but it was too late as the virus was already on the move. In a twisted, barbaric and devastating set of circumstances, Italian hospitals became so crowded with an influx of corona patients, that doctors were forced to make the traumatic choice on who to care for and who to let die. Through the tragedy in Italy, experts have tried to pinpoint what exactly went wrong in Italy´s response and how other countries can avoid repeating any deadly mistake. One possible reason for the overwhelming numbers in Italy was the enforced quarinted of the country’s people came too late. In fact at first, some Italian officials even encouraged people to go out and enjoy life. While it is undoubtedly straining to be restricted to just your house, the importance of social distancing has been stressed by every health department around the globe.


China, however, offers a lesson in optimism as the country hit hardest by COVID-19 now offers hope on it. The people of Wuhan, and indeed the city itself, have been on complete lockdown in a well-advised measure to flatten the curve. Now, China is able to boast no new coronavirus cases- a huge milestone for a place that had over 80,000 people infected. It appears that the aggressive, non-optional rules placed on the citizens of Wuhan were greatly effective in slowing the spread.


Right now, things are messy, scarry, bizarre and understably unsettling. No matter who you are, every single person on this earth has been affected by COVID-19, rather by businesses closing down or actually being infected. Pandemics make people feel hopeless, which is why it is imperative that we take care of one another, and each do our part to help ensure the more vulnerable among us are safe. Through dark times, lessons of humanity, unity and compassion are often the most hard-hitting. No matter how bleak it is now, or how bleak it will continue to become, it is important to remember China. China, who had been possessed by something so terrible and dark it would seem inmountable, would see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is reason to hope. There always is.