It's been weeks since the confinement measure started in my city with the spread of the Covid-19. I'm a journalist, working for a magazine company in Europe. I briefly tell here what have changed and what haven't (with the confinement in effect) and how it's affecting the everyday life, my life and those around me.
What have changed...
The distance with people on streets. Some used to say they were careful about Asian tourists because they could be carrying the virus. Now, we are pretty much scared of each other regardless of races. We take distance to each other, no matter where we go.
The shopping spree. People got panicked at the beginning of the confinement and bought things like toilette papers, pasta or canned foods in supermarkets. The government tried to calm us down but we didn't really trust them. The shelves of supermarkets were empty. Now we understand there's enough supplies of food and supply chains are more or less maintained. We stopped buying crazily.
No business trips. I used to travel often to places like Lebanon, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia. But now it's either canceled or postponed without having a specific date. I miss traveling and eating exotic foods. I miss Moroccan couscous. Similar subject, but I don't interview people anymore in person. It's always through Skype or on the phone. The exchanges tend to be shorter, more 'to the point', without the frankness and the benefits of live face-to-face interaction. Therefore, I don't like it at all because we lose human connections. As a magazine journalist, it' very important to have good information sources. With this way of working, we would never get one.
What haven't changed..
Peoples' will to enjoy life. Now the internet is filled with creativity on how to enjoy sports inside house,play music together online...and offline, too, there are people who sing a song, give funny questions from a window for neighbors.
The needs of my kids to study. My kids are small and they have to study with materials provided by the school. The problem? The kids cannot study on their own without help of the parents. Starting from addition to African cultures, I teach them, while having constant pressures on deadlines.
I was going to list more things on what haven't changed but actually almost everything changed! People wear masks, wear gloves, shops are disinfecting surfaces after almost every single customer, sellers shielding themselves behind plastic screens (installed at the cashiers) for protection against direct germ transfer...
At this point, scientists predict that this virus may become a seasonal one and we may repeat this confinement and non-confinement cycle. It's our new reality.
Do I still go out?
Yes, but much less than I want. I go out probably once a day in the afternoon to do grocery shopping with my kids, as we try to buy only what and when needed.
We wear masks, ones with rather good quality for industrial purposes. We look like a family of ducks.
It's quite normal to wear masks in Asian countries, such as China and Japan, but that wasn't the case for in European countries. Europeans and Americans would get puzzled seeing Asian tourists with masks and often wonder about the reason for such "drastic measure". Now roughly 30-40% of people I encounter on streets, wear masks. I've heard that in Eastern Europe it's even mandatory.
We will survive this crisis for sure. The death is regrettable but scientists say when 50-60% of us get infected, the spread of such virus would disappear automatically. What is scary is an economic crisis afterwards. The governments are spending enormous amount of money to support unemployed people, which is correct. But they are borrowing money from the future. They have to return it. "Rich countries" will be able to do it for sure, but there are countries that are not that wealthy. That is where you have to pay attention after this crisis.
This post is written by Pierre P, a travel journalist for a major magazine, based in Europe. Follow Pierre P on his infoStraight account here.
Let us at infoStraight know if you'd like to read more from this author!