This might sound weird but I miss the coronavirus.
It was the talk of the town. It united us. The virus brought the whole world into the same exhale-inhale breath of possible death. From our self-isolated spaces, we protected ourselves with a shared goal of protecting each other.
The coronavirus inspired me to resurrect this 13-year-old blog which hadn’t seen words written in many months.
“As we adjust to life with the coronavirus in this new normal, I want to use my blog as a creative outlet to share what’s on my mind,” I wrote on March 17.
When I first tweeted about the coronavirus on February 9, I linked to a CNN article about Wuhan and shared statistics of 813 dead and 37,198 infected.
I’d been aware of it much earlier but those numbers were numbing. I kept reading and watching as the virus crossed international borders and crept deeper into America.
“The fist bump is 10x more hygienic than the handshake,” I tweeted on March 5, linking to a news article in the Boston Herald. “In this age of the coronavirus, bump away.”
I remember my last meal in a restaurant. On Saturday, March 7, I met friends for dinner. Earlier in the day, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health released data of 13 presumptive cases of COVID-19 across the state.
Between our trips to the buffet bars, sharing serving utensils with other customers, and standing close to each other, we talked about the virus and what we knew from the news.
We were a little surprised how busy the restaurant was, but the DPH said that the risk of viral infection was low so we stayed there about two hours.
Fast forward to today. It is June 4.
I remember the shared anxieties, feel-good memes, uplifting quotes, lockdown videos, nasal swab horrors, clinical trials, and frontline hero stories. I miss those days. I miss our unity.
That was then. Now, we are returning to talk about non-pandemic topics.
It seems like everyone I follow online and all of my phone calls and video chats are centered around something else, anything else. As the economy reopens, it’s crucial for us to remember that we are still fighting a microscopic virus in a war for our lives.
I don’t want to dismiss the importance of this moment. Because it’s very important. Inequality needs to be eradicated. We need to stop judging each other by our skin color, gender, wealth, and beliefs.
We need to step up today with the unity we practiced yesterday when the coronavirus traveled around the world. We need to commit to shared actions to reduce strife.
Disagreements and criticism are healthy but civility is required. I’m seeing less civility these days. I’ve been seeing less civility for years. We need it. Especially now.
And we must remember in everything we do and say that the pandemic is still here. The coronavirus is still here, infecting and killing people every day around the world.
We are still living in a new normal. Since the murder of George Floyd, the new normal seems different. We mutated. I’m very curious what our normal resembles tomorrow and if we can return to the days of love.