First, the reports came out of China that they were erecting a hospital in just a week to house the sick and infected. I dismissed it as typical media palaver, designed to work people into a frenzy about something far away and that it would blow over within a month and we'd never hear of it again.
Images began to circulate showing often crowded and packed parts of China in a state of total desertion, as though humanity had been scrubbed from existence. It was surreal, but I paid it little mind and assumed it would be cleared up soon.
Somewhere after that, I saw a post on 4chan that said something to the effect of China was lying about the numbers and the actual number of infected and the death toll was absurdly high. I thought it was worrying, but I ultimately put it aside and out of my mind.
Then came the reports of Chinese borders closing and people being stuck in hotel rooms in China, where they couldn't leave and had to wait on room service to bring them food. I began to wonder what kind of illness this could be that would bring about such radical policies, but I consoled myself by saying "it's China, they're authoritarian and it's probably just them flexing a muscle".
Suddenly there was talk on the radio about the virus spreading to Europe. I paid it little credence and heard an off-hand quote from WHO claiming there was extremely little chance it would spread to Denmark or even Europe altogether and that their techniques for preventing spread of disease would stifle it immediately. So, once again, I paid it no mind. Then Italy erupted in cases and I rolled my eyes saying "of course the Italians are the ones that slip up. Never mind, we have better government here, we'll just wait it out". When other parts of Europe reported cases, though, I had a different thought: "I hope it comes here, then I can stay home from university, saving me hours of transport by bus". In my ignorance, at the time, I assumed it was much like any other flu virus and was a case of feeling queasy and ill for a week or two, then going back to normal. I joked with friends that people were overreacting to something that was merely a case of sniffles.
That is, until more detailed explanations and stories about the effects of Covid-19, the ease with which it spread and the difficulty associated with preventing infection came to light. Suddenly, rather than joking, I was concerned. I was all too happy when my university decided to close down, both because it granted me the time out of public transport that I had wanted but also because the atmosphere around had changed so dramatically that I didn't want to be in a crowded classroom.
It's been very interesting to see this problem escalate so dramatically. It's been gratifying to have some changes to daily life that I've always felt surely must be possible, such as remote learning or digital solutions over the internet. It's been worrying to feel like we know so little about a modern problem and have it revealed that advice on what to do is constantly shifting and there are no guarantees of anything. It's been nice to scratch out a huge chunk of my day-to-day that would ordinarily be devoted to transport and university and replace it with all kinds of other endeavors.
I would like to believe that at the end of this crisis, we will see lasting changes originating from this. My gut tells me we won't.
My concern for the future is in how this ends. A vaccine, from the little I've read, doesn't sound likely. Even if it does come about, it could take years to manufacture and distribute appropriately. There is, I suspect, going to be quite a long time where interactions with others are limited and our lives are dramatically different.
Originally Posted by Splat
Congratulations, Oddey, on winning FC's fanfiction competition two years running! You are clearly the man to beat!