Everyday is like Sunday; or life on lockdown

In a matter of days, life as we know it changed. There is a calamity, but it's something that we cannot see. Earthquakes, fires, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, wars, and countless disasters have occurred in this country and the world, but nothing like this with a global magnitude. In a war, one can run or fight. You can see, feel, and touch volcanic ash, you can walk away from it. If a typhoon destroys your home, you know you can rebuild it and start again.

Instead, there is silence in the streets. People are forced to stay home. Some, like the poor and those who have no choice but work, are the most affected. Almost all stores, restaurants, and places where people meet are closed except for the essentials.

The virus is sly, one can carry it in the body without symptoms and can affect thousands when a chain of infection starts. Even one person infected can shut a city down, just like what happened with Patient 31 in South Korea. I am more aware of the things I am touching and people nearby. Who knows where they came from, who they have touched, where did they go? If I want to go somewhere, I ask myself, do I really need to?

I know I am one of those with privilege. I can stay home, I can 'Netflix and chill,' but after days of not going out of this house, I am starting to feel fear and panic. When will this end? I try to read, write, and blog, but I find that I can't even focus on a movie knowing that people are dying out there. There are people in danger, and we feel helpless against something we cannot see.

I'm sure most of us, including me, are online most of the time. It's the only way we can connect to people we know and how we get our news. Every day the cases are rising, the death toll is increasing, but there is a sliver of hope at the news about those recovering. There are also rumors, fake news, online trolls, debates about how the government should be run.

Last March 21st, the Mayor confirmed the first case of COVID-19 here in Iloilo City. That seems like a very long time ago, and time is unusually long when we are waiting. As of today, there are around 3,000 cases in the country.

Boredom is a challenge, but I just think of the people who work outside who can't even afford to get bored in a time like this. I try to exercise, eat healthy, and write. I tried painting again. I'm trying to make the most of this time even when it's quite difficult.

Despite the fear, panic, and approaching despair, I still have hope. The virus may be deadly, but we can prevent it with simple and practical steps like washing the hands and keeping surroundings clean. In the history of pandemics, they don't last forever. This may be long, but I trust that it will end.

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