by Caitlyn Veal
We all saw this coming; it was only a matter of time. With no vaccine in sight and hearts heavy in our hands, we dreaded the days to come. Back to school, once again, after summer and being greeted by all of our friends is something that we cherish, as I can say myself. Now, new restrictions are in place–no groups bigger than 5? Restaurants shut and mask-wearing walking along streets. It has become a daily struggle.
How has Covid affected Europe? It is present in everyday life and in Poland we are facing thousands of cases a day. Major cities across Europe have been thrown back into their second lockdown.
According to the BBC, “anyone going outside in France right now must carry a written statement justifying their journey” (Nov 14, 2020). I received a written statement from one of my dad’s colleagues, Nathalie, who is living in the north of France. “Sometimes shelves were empty, being afraid that there was lack of food led to people stocking up.”
Many across the globe are struck with the ongoing fear of not having enough food to feed themselves and their families. The French government decided to help all owners of shops, and all of the people who lost their jobs with different assistance. The Second lockdown in France started on October 30th and Nathalie says, “French people have not learned the lessons of the first lockdown and we feel like we’re paying for those who haven’t paid attention.” “The second lockdown is harder even if it is less severe; everybody keeps working; however, this does not include shops such as, hairdressers, florists, restaurants pubs, clothing shops, and other small businesses.”
The virus made one of its first appearances in Italy early in the year when Covid was the ‘hot new topic.’ It spread throughout the country for months. Nevertheless, by this fall, it seemed under control. What does their second wave lockdown look like? According to the BBC (Nov 14, 2020), “There is a nationwide curfew from 22:00 to 5:00. Gatherings for weddings, baptisms, and funerals are banned, older school pupils have switched to remote learning, and masks are being worn everywhere, except at home.”
According to Nuria, who is living in the north of Italy, after only about a month of being out of lockdown, the second wave hit again and they were thrown back into restrictions. “We believe knowledge helps to accept and understand this situation.” People going to work had to be smart about their every move: no sports, school was moved to online and bad news of complicated cases are feared. This time is important for her family, as it is many, and she says, “the positive of this period is how we react as a family. We decided together that we can resist and be better than before, learning a new way, a new routine and being able to find happiness in the little things.” I have come to the same conclusion with my family members, that even though this time is hard, it is a new experience and challenge that we have to fight. No fight is a true fight without a lesson learned or knowledge gained.
A colleague of my dad’s, Samia, who is living in Jordan, reports that November 1st was the beginning of the second wave and many employees lost their jobs while others went to a 50% salary loss. As a result, this had a negative impact on economics and purchasing power. Where she is living, “wedding halls, cinemas, barbers (many people start shaving at home), travel agencies, pet shops, restaurants and cafe’s have shut down. This series of events impacts banks as well because they are stripped of the ability to fulfill loans from the public.” Hospitals are overflowing, as are many around the world right now. People are avoiding hospitals at all cost to limit the risk of getting sick or contracting the virus. With a heavy heart Samia says that, “many people have released their pets because it is thought that they could be a source of the virus.
I think putting other’s lives into perspective and being able to capture what else is happening around the world and not just what you see everyday, is a key aspect into seeing the differences of how countries are reacting to this change. “Best wishes for all to stay safe, happy without being afraid of others,” said Samia. “Have the ability to take photos (showing our full faces without being hidden by masks), going to airports, traveling, and enjoying other countries like before.”
As many say, and fear, the only solution is a vaccine. Who’s to say that everyone will take it because that may not be possible. Cases are fluctuating everyday, deaths but also recuperation. As more is learned more is feared. We all just want this to be over and hopefully we shall have a cure soon. This may be our new reality and how we choose to go from here marks the great road ahead for the future.