The New York Times

The New York Times 13 Mar 2020

How the World Is Reacting to Coronavirus


The coronavirus has touched a diverse collection of countries and cultures, but a number of shared experiences have emerged — from grieving the dead to writing songs.

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[Bagpipe music]
There are moments that seem bizarre, moments of fear …
… preparation
and moments of emptiness.
These are scenes from the world
living with coronavirus.
It has spread across cultures, languages
and even out to sea.
And despite these global differences,
a number of shared experiences have emerged.
There is grief over the dead.
In Iran, hospital staff mourn a doctor’s death
from the virus.
In China, a quarantined building collapses,
and a firefighter breaks down after pulling bodies
from the rubble.
In Italy, a man mourns the death of his sister.
To try and save lives, authorities take precautions.
They disinfect public areas and screen populations.
“This is just crazy.
Around the world, people are afraid and on edge.
In Northern Ireland, routine construction work
at an Apple Store is mistaken for virus-related activity.
In Japan, tempers flare when a man sneezes on a train.
One Italian takes the fear and adds humor.
This is a circle to keep people at a safe distance.
In fact, lots of people use humor
to cope with the uncertainty or the stigma of being sick.
In Australia, a run on toilet paper
leads to lessons in self-defense.
“He’s going to show you how to deal with people stealing
your toilet paper.”
There is also defiance, a conviction that life
must go on despite the virus.
Across rooftops in China, quarantined neighbors socialize.
From a rooftop in Italy, a theater group
performs poetry for an area where movement is restricted.
On a quarantined cruise ship, there’s
songwriting to pass the time.
In an apartment in China, too.
But perhaps some of the most striking moments
from the pandemic are those where little happens:
the empty streets.
No traffic.”
The quiet airports.
The places of worship without worshippers.
Stores without goods.
This is how it is across the globe
as we prepare, grieve and wait for the next chapter
of the coronavirus.

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