Nowadays, all the newspapers, Tv channels and radio programs are talking about coronavirus. In a world in stand still, it’s not easy not to fall into the vicious circle of fear and panic. And the media has a responsibility in this…
I’m one of the students staying in Denmark, but I’m still not sure if I made the right decision. Should I go home or stay here? It’s a thought that keeps haunting my mind.
Social media posts, memes, columns and articles suggest that introverts are thriving during the current corona lockdown. And whilst we do enjoy our own company and staying at home, we want our old lives back just like the extroverts. I even said it myself. ‘’As an introvert, I am absolutely fine with being at home all the time during this lockdown’’. To some extent, I am right. I am okay. I don’t need advice from a comedian on Instagram on how to stay sane – some would argue that it would be too late anyway. I don’t need new hobbies to keep me entertained. And I don’t badly need the company of other people.
My mother told me a story dozens of times before I went to bed. In the story, there was a shepherd, who once went up the hill, to warn that a wolf was coming. When the villagers came up, they saw that it was all the shepherd’s joke. The shepherd repeated the joke four more times, until the wolf really came. On that occasion, the villagers were already fed up, and that time they did not come to help the sheppard. Now, I realize this child story could be translated to the current situation. I changed the village for society, the shepherd for the traditional media, and the wolf for the Coronavirus, and the result is both surprising and effective. Something as simple as a child story could be used to understand how the media have worked in health issues.
“Relax! This is just a Flu. Plus, it only affects old people. We are fine,” my flatmate harshly said to me. In the first week of the corona outbreak in Denmark, she spent days going in and out of our dorm to parties. She would come home after two or three days, cook whatever she found in our kitchen, watch TV in the common room and go out again. With the news showing how dangerous this could be, I decided to ask her to be more careful. I explained to her that she needs to be responsible, since she lives in student housing and shares some spaces with ten other people. She did not care. There was no reason for her to stop enjoying the “break” she miraculously got, she told me, and who was I to say otherwise?
Since we are locked inside 24 hours a day, it’s normal to want to do something during this crisis we are facing. Giving your blood is one of the easiest things you can do. Behind the work at the donation centers, reality often catches up with us. I was barely 21. And, celebrating your birthday under coronavirus times was definitely not something that I would recommend. The birthday wishes were as varied as “Good luck in this difficult time”, “Do you know someone who has corona?”,“Is your family okay?”. I was a French student in Denmark, and I was feeling useless. I was pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one having this feeling. Between the four walls of my bedroom, I was going nuts. While I was watching the news, hearing about the doctors, teachers, cashiers, farmers helping in many ways to help our countries, I realized that me, a 21 years-old girl, with both my legs and arms, I could also act. Being powerful.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, I was studying in Denmark and had no plans to come back to Russia until Easter holiday. The pandemic made me change my mind. I do not tend to generalize, but in this column, taking the pandemic as a background, I will try to find how the Russians’ mentality differs from the Europeans’ set of mind of.
From Aarhus, Denmark, I saw from a distance as a foreigner living abroad how the infections and deaths from COVID-19 rapidly accumulated in the Netherlands. When I returned home and was in the middle of it, the numbers stopped for me.
My dad first voiced that he thought I should come home to Canada from my study abroad in Denmark in the first week of March. It was before the novel coronavirus had caused most European governments to sound their alarms and before any major lockdowns outside of Italy had ensued. Initially, I had dismissed the idea. Denmark had experienced merely a few cases, and I naively thought the spread was containable. It seemed unnecessary to upend the life I had just established in Aarhus, Denmark, where I was supposed to stay until June. But meanwhile, the virus was quietly spreading to all corners of the globe. Two weeks later, cases were surging worldwide. Europe had become an epicentre of the outbreak. The United States wouldn’t be far behind.
This is it. We are on complete lockdown. After our Italian neighbour, this is France’s turn to go into isolation to limit the spread of the current pandemic. When our president Emmanuel Macron announced on the evening TV news, in a speech, that France was going on full lockdown for two weeks, the French didn’t imagine what life would be like during this period of time. It is not just about confinement or self-isolation in this case. This a matter of not having a legal right to go out, except with a good reason to do so and an official form to fill in -with limited options. And France has a way of reacting to issues that is very different from the rest of Europe.