On a normal almost 80 degree sunny day in early May, the courtyard of the apartment complex that I live at would be full of laughing & carefree children, adults coming home from their nine-to-fives, about to play a round of badminton, and vibrant, visible life. But now, I see this life, but sparsely- maybe a few neighbors are doing laps around the courtyard, but alone or with another family member. The kids who play together,now play alone. And there's no badminton or group games in sight. This is to show how social distancing and the lockdown is necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus and I've been getting used to seeing this scene for the past almost two months.
So much as changed in such a short amount of time; we social creatures had to learn how to become less social personally, and more social digitally, if need be. For many, this is a nice break from the everyday grind; you discover new hobbies and actually have time to spend with loved one. But on the flipside, if you still have to work, it could've easily been the longest two months of your life. And not to mention those who don't have the resources to have a rather "comfortable quarantine", unlike some celebrities who find it difficult since they're "social butterflies." We've pretty much adapted to this life- but now things might change, again.We are now entering stage 3 of this possible only 1st wave of the pandemic- reopening. Lots of states are reopening again, some started small, like New Jersey and New York where the cases have been rapid and plentiful, with making parks open to the public, with the appropriate social distancing guidelines of course. Others, such as Texas and Georgia have businesses open, including malls and restaurants, after weeks of protests from disgruntled, anxious protesters demanding that the country reopen despite threats of a second wave or that it may set the curve in an upward trend again.
I wonder what things will be like here in NJ, where the cases rapidly grew everyday for a whole month. Restrictions came about swiftly, as in one week, malls, small business, movie theaters, restaurants pretty much everywhere that wasn't deemed an essential business shut its doors to keep the majority safe. For essential workers, this must be just as stressful or even more stressful to think about. There will most likely still be cases after this, but it may double in amount. Places will get more crowded and it will be harder to enforce social distance guidelines. And not to mention, the potential violence that some "violators" of social distancing could face; the comparison of how crowds at Central Park vs crowds at events such as funerals were handled says it all.
Though much is uncertain, there is one thing i'm sure about- is that this will be a very slow and gradual process and nothing will ever be exactly the same, at least not for a very long time. We need to become familiar with a new normal. Working from home for those who can, may have to continue for a while. Large public gatherings also could bring on a lot of anxiety that we don't need, so we may have to give those up for the majority of the year (which means that Fireworks should definitely be cancelled as well). Even public transportation services will begin to close in the middle of the night for deep cleaning and sanitation. We must wipe the chances of this virus spreading again completely as we try to reclaim some sense of normalcy. And we definitely don't want to reverse the progress we have made.
May 15th is the targeted date of most places reopening in New Jersey and New York. Whether or not we're ready is a big question that I still can't answer. I'm not sure if we'll ever be 100% ready. But life will continue, even if it's 2 weeks, 2 months or 2 years away- slowly but surely.
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