I remember the first time I heard of Coronavirus.
It happened few months ago.
I spend hours in front of computer just sifting through the news. When I have first read about this new virus in China, I didn’t give it much thought.
It was a distant chatter, i thought this was one of those news stories you read about and soon after forget about it.
As days were going by, stories about this new virus were popping out in my news feed more frequently.
I noticed that people started to talk about the virus. Every time i went to the bar with my friends, someone there was talking about it.
Jokes about the virus were floating around, when I would go back home and turned on my laptop it felt like all I was seeing were more and more news stories about the virus.
I was laughing at virus related memes, and slowly but surely the virus was infiltrating in my life, and the lives of people around me.
When it first apeared in Europe, I still didn’t think much of it.
I remember seeing the first man wearing a medical mask in my town. As he entered a bar I was in, everyone chuckled.
We all thought he was paranoid – after all the virus was thousands of miles away and there he was – walking through the town wearing a face mask.
As he walked by down the streets, people who passed him by were turning after him, pointing fingers and smiling.
I felt sorry for him. It was awkward to see that.
Few days later, first case of the virus was registered in my country. I felt like there is nothing else on the world but this virus.
Every news headline was about it, people were talking about it non-stop.
I soon realised that, everytime me an my friends get together, we talk about the virus. Conspiracy theories, jokes, news…
I thought it was funny how the media is able to influence everybody’s mind – I was one of those people who would say „Globally, a child dies every three seconds due to hunger. Why no one is talking about that?“
Me and my friends still didn’t take it seriously.
We were wondering who are these people who are buying masks in our town as we have read that all of the pharmacies ran out of masks.
Then one day I had to go pick up my sister from college as there was one registered case of the virus where she was studying.
They have decided to shut down all the schools and universities, so I picked her up and drove her home.
That same evening my boss called me and told me not to come to work tomorrow. He said it is better to be sure. I thought he was being paranoid.
After all, she had no contacts with the person who was infected – It was some bloke who came from Italy and they have isolated him instantly, but nevertheless I was to work from home from then on.
It was really boring spending most of the time home.
I was still going out to meet with my friends and I started to see more and more people wearing face masks.
As I was driving to meet them, I was counting how many drivers I saw on the road were wearing masks.
Soon, our government ordered all public life is to be shut down. No more public gatherings, all events were canceled, schools were closed – on the morning the order came into effect, police was patroling the streets.
Officers were going from bar to bar and ordering people to close their establishments.
The previous day we had a corona party. A couple of us have gone to a friends house, we bought a bunch of Corona beers and we were drinking and having fun.
This was the last party we were going to have in a long time.
From that day we have not not meet in person.
We talk via Whatsapp or Facebook messenger. We are all trapped in our homes – some of us work from home, some are laid off.
One friend who was working at a souvenir shop was told to go home as there are no more tourists.
None of us have the virus, but we all advised to stay at homes. Whole country is advised to stay at home. It feels like living in a dystopian future. Everything a man can do is to sit at home. I found myself just aimlessly walking from the living room to the bedroom – from the bedroom to the living room and so on. I watch a lot of Youtube videos, I just sit in front of my laptop like a zombie scrolling trough Facebook feed, reding stuff on Reddit.
It is boring. I still believe that virus is not the thing that will kill us – I fear of boredom.
Whenever I go supply shopping it feels surreal. Cashiers in supermarkets and gas stations are wearing gloves and face masks, I is weard to see people with masks and gloves, I feel like I am in a Hollywood movie.
Steven Soderbergh’s 2011′s “Contagion” comes to mind.
Sometimes I go meet with one of my friends and we drive around. Normally, we talk about the virus.
Was this a government scheme to control the population, to strip people of their liberties and make them live inside, or is this a sign of the upcoming Apocalypse, or is this a form of biological warfare between US and China, is this designed to make people stop using physical money – dumb shit like that.
I know that the truth is usually simple – but it is in human nature to tell fantastic stories and it makes the time pass faster.
I think about the people who lost their jobs due to pandemic, I wonder how will they make ends meet, I wonder will the situation get worse.
I am tired of the shutdown, I hope everything will go back to normal in a couple of months, but I fear that the shutdown could take much longer. And I fear that people could start killing themselves. I have just read an article that how there’s a firm body of scientific literature establishing a strong link between unemployment and higher suicide rates and many people are getting fired due to this pandemic.