The moment we learn of a positive case of COVID-19 in a building or in a housing society, we tell ourselves that we must be more careful and avoid all human contact as much as possible. We hardly bother to think about the infected person, their family, and the problems they face. At most we ask about the age of the person: if it turns out to be an older person, we, in much younger age groups, feel a kind of relief or if that person had a series of comorbidities, we, with less risk, feel another kind of relief emerges. Is this a deadly extension of modern-day nuclear family living standards? Or will this be the climax of a digital or virtual life accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic? The basic preventive approach to this highly contagious disease has been to avoid human physical contact with individuals or groups or crowds, and little by little, coughing and sneezing began to scare us: we were mortally concerned if someone was in an elevator or in a passage or just is nearby does one of those very humane actions. From a health perspective, there is nothing wrong with that; We are advised to observe all these rules of social distancing and hygiene; and therein lies the problem that worries us. Now we tend to avoid all humans except our relatives and relatives, and we don’t give a damn about human problems.
Even becoming infected with the fast-spreading virus was seen as something of a criminal act, often generating angry objections to having infected people in the same building and, sadly, inhuman obstructions regarding cremation rites for a dead patient. Families have also become accustomed to having a member die in hospital and allowing local authorities to incinerate the person without family involvement; or members of a family located in remote places who remain in their homes after one of their closest members dies in a different place, due to COVID or any other illness. Again from a technical point of view, there is nothing wrong with having these stoic responses. However, authorities in several countries had to issue warnings to people not to consider infected people as criminals or not to obstruct funeral rites.
We are getting used to being totally immersed in our cell phones, laptops, desktops, and all other forms of virtual life. We continue to scrutinize our mobile or computer or television screens, and work from home, participating in all virtual meetings and conferences. To socialize with our loved and close ones, well, there are social networks. Once again, this new normal life is imperative if we want to defeat the virus. The point of concern here is that even personal phone calls are getting smaller and smaller – well, I texted him and talked to him, why then call? In addition, we are already used to not having gatherings or parties or anything like that.
Although we have relied almost exclusively on online shopping, we can’t help but go to supermarkets and possibly malls that may reopen, for an occasional physical purchase must-have. Once there, we regard other clients as unwanted physical obstacles: in a frenzy to maintain a safe distance, we become intolerant if someone gets closer than we think is right; masked and disinfected with their hands, we act like robots moving in programmed mechanics; deprived of the traditional handshake or an informal hug, we seem to have lost all ability to greet other human beings; and once we have all of our required rations stacked in cars or otherwise we feel complete and victorious. Technically, again, we cannot find fault with such approaches to counteract the spread of the pandemic.
An old man has narrated an alarming experience. That night he had to urgently visit the local grocery store for a personal purchase, and had to cross the busy road to fulfill his mission. In the pedestrian crossing the traffic light did not work and there were no traffic police to drive; it was completely different why such an important signal was left unattended. The old man waited and waited at the crossroads, with a group of other men and women. Vehicles kept whizzing past despite their continued greetings with their tired hands. And when, finally, the vehicles slowed down a bit, the youths on their bikes made hay as they made their shortcuts, almost pushing pedestrians aside. His experience was even worse when he returned and crossed the obstacle again. A fellow pedestrian complained bitterly to him about the indifferent, brutal and zombie behavior of car owners or drivers, refusing to instill lessons from the greatest crisis mankind has ever faced.
Are we, in fact, losing all of our human values of compassion, empathy, and emotions in this frenzied new virtual existence? Or as we said, is this the culminating point thanks to the pandemic?
In the initial stage of the pandemic there were many examples set by NGOs, organizations and even individuals in feeding the hungry unemployed and providing shelters for the homeless. There have also been a number of donation drives for noble human causes. However, the bonhomie slowly diminished, possibly due to the fact that people could not continue to donate forever, as many of them lost their regular income, while millions more lost their salaried jobs. Except for the limited have everyone else those who don’t have They have become severely suffocated and depressed with their pent-up emotions growing within the four walls. Socio-cultural-economic deprivation aggravated the scenario. Also, what are those who don’t have access to even a virtual life supposed to do?
Given that the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis for humanity, the long-term consequences are sure to be enormous. If we were ever to go back to the old normality, the moot question would be how people would react to other people. A never-ending saga of social, cultural, and economic distancing could spell real ruin when it comes to normal human emotions, compassion, and empathy or sympathy. In the meantime, we must keep alive the spirit of hope and we must keep the values of the brotherhood of humanity dear and aflame in our hearts.