August is over, fall is here, and so is Covid, stronger than ever. The coronavirus has become an inseparable part of our lives. Not so much the disease as the changes it brings with it. Gradually, we are acknowledging that it is here to stay. While we are afraid of catching Covid, the impact of the virus goes far beyond our health; it has affected every aspect of our lives.
The public sphere has been transformed. Cafes look different, movie theaters, shopping centers, schools, everything is different, odd. Many people are working from home; many are not working at all, and for those who have kept their old jobs, the jobs themselves seem different. And underneath those changes, a transformation is happening; we are changing our relations to each other and to all of reality. We are changing our relation to life.
We still want to return to the old “normal,” to make plans for a Covid-free future, but nature has said its piece, and we must comply. We must accept that life has changed for good.
The approach of fall will prompt us to change our attitude to life, to society, to everything. However, in the end, it will be a positive change that will make it easier for us to understand one another, feel one another, and grow closer in our hearts, if not yet in our bodies. Gradually, we will become more aware that things have changed radically. There will be no, or virtually no physical attendance at schools or universities, many parents will have to stay home with their kids, and people will become more “sedentary” than ever.
If we can overcome the aggressiveness that has taken society by a storm in recent months, we will discover that in fact, we are all in the same boat. The differences between people are much smaller than we think because in the end, we all want the same simple things: food and shelter, health, and a good environment for our kids. The virus will teach us that we are dependent on each other and will make us think of one another. But when we learn it, we will uncover the joy and strength in unity, in having a solid community.
When we develop mutual responsibility and consideration, we will conduct ourselves in ways that do not put others at risk of contagion. And when we do that, we will find that the virus has left. Without vaccination and without medication, it will simply be gone when we look out for each other. When we are clear of the virus, we will need no (anti)social distancing, no masks that hide our smiles, or alcohol gel to disinfect our hands after we hug. Then, and only then will we realize why Covid came, to teach us how to care.