Coronavirus Diaries 2

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re in this for the very long haul.

How long?

It seems more and more like we’re going to be living under some kind of semi-lockdown (thought given the fluidity of the news, this may change in the next hours, much less day!) where people are going to be strongly discouraged from gathering in any large or semi-large group.

Schools are, at least in these parts, effectively shutting down any actual classrooms. Relatives, and my daughter, are out of class at least three weeks, perhaps for the rest of the semester.

I’m seeing reports of movie theaters, obviously another place where large groups of people may congregate in a relatively small space, shutting down, at least in New York.

Given the ease of transmission of this disease, it seems foolish to go to any event like this and risk being close to a large group of people.

Then there are reports, here and there, of wildlife that has gotten used to tourists or visitors coming by and given them food now going hungry. In Japan, Nara deer are leaving their park looking for food as tourists who normally feed them aren’t coming around. In Thailand, bands of hungry monkeys are roaming the streets looking for food. Once again, the drop in tourism and the tourists who usually feed them is the cause.

Frankly, its both scary and incredibly sad.

On the other hand, there come reports that because of the inactivity of people and the low levels of tourism, the waters in Venice are becoming remarkably clear. Further, there are reports that smog/pollution in some of the affected areas, such as China and Italy, are greatly diminished.

But while its wonderful to think about how much cleaner the air and water are even after such a short period of time of decreased activity, both industrial and tourist, the economic impacts are on the horizon and they’re terrifying.

How many people work in tourist fields? How many in the restaurant business? How many work in industries impacted by this virus?

And the big question: How many are going to feel the economic strain of not working while we let this virus run its course?

I don’t want to be an alarmist but it seems to me there are going to be a lot of people impacted financially because of this virus. The idea that we have to effectively quarantine ourselves and/or try not to go out all that much for up to eight or so weeks is a very long time.

How many businesses will not be able to sustain themselves for that long? How many employees will lose their jobs because said businesses simply cannot keep operating as they have?

You think about other industries that employ many, many people?

For example, the movie industry. Thousands of people work in this industry, beyond simply the actors, directors, and screenwriters. There are at times many millions of dollars invested in a single feature film (the bigger ones, obviously)and we are now wondering when/if said films can be released. And when they are, will people shy away from the theaters?

Vacation spots: When will people come back in larger groups?

It feels like we’re at the beginning of this, sadly, rather than anywhere close to the end.

Of course, this could change. Scientists could come up with some effectively treatment for the Coronavirus and, just like that, we could find a way to deal with it and get back to “normal”.

Then again, it might take a while.

We’ll see.