History has always been written afterwards. As the stories and the perception of the Great War were written and rewritten throughout the following decades, so will the history and the perception of the Great Pandemic be shaped in the decades to come. So, what will be the story we tell of Corona?
It was 6am on a quiet morning at the East Coast of Australia. The night had been confusing and questioning. I’m not sure if I really slept, because I knew something was coming up. Two months before that morning, a concerned friend had asked me what I thought – as a journalist – about what was happening in Wuhan.
We didn’t know the name, nor the fame the virus would gain, but I understood something was about to happen.
The story of my friend was in tremendous contrast with the official stories we were told. While the Chinese government was telling us nothing too urgent was happening, and the World Health Organisation confirmed that we did not have to panic, because the new virus wasn’t more than a flu; my friend’s story was chocking.
A hospital in Wuhan would be no longer able to deal with the rapidly increasing number of patients infected by the mysterious disease. Soldiers, no doctors would go in the hospital to burn the death bodies, rather than taking care of them all. The numbers of deaths and infected ones must have been tremendously high, that such a dramatic measure had to be taken. Yet, the Chinese government and the WHO kept telling us, to remain calm, they were in control. This was by the end of January 2020.
I couldn’t tell it was right or wrong, I had to factcheck first, but I could tell her it was possible.
Mind the Gap
The measures taken in China were contradictory to the message spread by them. There was a gap between the words and the deeds, which would soon be filled by the truth: the virus wasn’t a simple flu, it was a high infectious disease that would soon spread rapidly over the entire globe.
But by the end of January few countries were really alarmed, let alone prepared. The US was one of the first countries however to lock its borders for people out of Wuhan, while the countries who had experience with SARS took protective measures as well. Europe, Australia, and eventually all other countries over the world would start going in lockdown throughout March and April.
A lot of valuable time was lost between the first alarming messages, and the eventually alarmed countries.
The story of those months will be written in the next year by research commissions, by reflection and questioning. But the truth might always remain there, in the gap between words and deeds, facts and storytelling, history and history writing.
My Story of Corona
That morning at 6am, I wasn’t running as usual, I was watching the Belgian Security Council gathering at 10pm Belgian time. They introduced the lockdown that wasn’t a lockdown. The lockdown would gradually evolve into a real lockdown nonetheless. They were part of a wave of lockdowns that would from then on shape the world for the upcoming months.
Unfortunately, that wave came after the wave of Covid-19 had flooded them all.
That day going to work was different. Nothing had changed in my immediate surroundings, but to me it was all different. As if my personal story had flipped a page and started a new chapter right away: Life in Times of Corona.
For the first time since a while I was conscious of every movement I made, of every action I took, because I knew I was going to lose it all. With every deed that day, I added a word of gratitude and goodbye. I was saluting the world as I knew it, ready to step in the world I didn’t know yet. The house, the work, the drive over the hill, watching the forest absolve into the ocean, having the sun through the window, the winding road ending in the square parking lot. Walking in, I greeted my colleagues as if it was a goodbye, I took the view on the ocean in me, and whispered a thank you for everything that I had at that moment.
From then on, it went fast. Covid came and the world as we knew it was gone. It wasn’t a loss entirely, because sometimes things have to be wiped out before we can see clearly what actually matters and what doesn’t; the masks have to fall off before we know who really is in front of us.
I used the time to reflect, to write, write this story, and the story of Hope in times of Corona, while writing a factual story about what really happened in times of Corona. I’m a writer and a journalist, no matter what the world will bring me, no matter how far I will be lift of my feet, no matter how much dust blinds me when falling I the arena. I know I’ll never fall apart, because this is who I am. The writer, the journalist, and that will always be my story, regardless the changing world, the changing décor.
When crisis hits, the decorations fall off and our really story becomes visible. When crisis hits the world, we start questioning what the world actually means to us, and what means the world to us.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- How this too shall pass
- how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
- how you can contribute to this battle,
- how gratitude lights up the dark,
- how united we will stand strong
- on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis
- how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands,
- how being calm can get us through the storm.
- about Love in Times of Corona
- how to discover your own talents
- why we need stories to hold on to
- how you can be creative and innovative.
- how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
- how to listen to the sound of silence.
- How breath taking Corona really is.
- discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us,
- about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
- about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
- about the position of nature in this entire story
- about nature bouncing back
- about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
- about the game to play
- about star gazing in dark times
- About looking for Meaning
- About how Music Connects
- about what Easter and Corona have in Common
- About the Shark and the Turtle
- About the Irony of Distance
- Why to Hold on
- Fake News
- about The Big Unknown we live at
- about Feeling Alive
- About turning obstacles into opportunities
- about what the Birthday of my nephew learned me about life
- About where we should go from here?
- About coping with incertitude
- About the Great War and the Great Pandemic, and we should not forget
- about history’s most important message, echoed by corona
- How one country could rule them all
- About how to prevent the next Green Pandemic
- about how we are experiencing a new episode of our history books
- about when the poppy flowers
- about what’s in a number
- masks off, how a friend in need is a friend indeed
- What’s Next. after we flattened the curve?
- how will our personal story look like in a post-corona world?
- why we should never let a good crisis go too waste.
- How Spring can happen in Autumn
- How to unlock the lockdown
- Why education matters
- How we can give meaning to the meaningless deaths. (rethink health care)
- The remarkable marketability of health, or not?
- the remarkable rewards of health
- The queeste for global health care
- Health Heroes
- Pains and Gains
- Solidarity 3.0
- Work-Life Balance
- Home sweet home
- Real Connections
- Leadership 3.0
- gratitude 3.0
- Respect 3.0
- Humanity 3.0
- Change Management
- Economic Catharsis
- To consume or not to consume?
- Travel the world, travel your heart
- Barrels of Life
- People, no Number Management
- Back to the Office?
- Those jobs …
- Economic Growth or Green Growth
- Global trade, global fate
- Act local, think global
- A changed climate for Climate Change
- Love is in the Air
- From Fatamorgana to Oasis
- From Covid-19 to Forest Fire
- 5 Shades of Fossil Fuels
- Water, divide and unite
- Almighty Ocean
- Plastic Free July
- Thin Line of Change
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark time.