Peter Piot, a virologist who discovered Ebola virus and has been a part of nearly all major virus outbreaks got infected with coronavirus. As he recovers from Covid-19, he reflected on this experience. I read it with great interest because as a virologist his insights are valuable. He refers to commentators with the same annoyance that I have felt from the beginning of the lockdown –
The more we learn about the coronavirus, the more questions arise. We are learning while we are sailing. That’s why I get so annoyed by the many commentators on the sidelines who, without much insight, criticize the scientists and policymakers trying hard to get the epidemic under control. That’s very unfair.
Piot admits that he feels vulnerable and that getting infected with coronavirus has changed his life. These words of cold, honest submission can come from only those who walk through the inferno.
Admitting vulnerability isn’t easy for individuals and nations. Perhaps, that’s why many leaders of the world act confident in their briefings. On the other hand, it is understandable that as a group often a collective sense of confidence is necessary to overcome difficult times. Maybe admitting that we are vulnerable will not change much. It will not change our respective governments’ responses. It could to the very least acknowledge the reality that many feel they are living. A reality which has heaps of uncertainty and feeling vulnerable. In the deep swamps of these lockdown days, there is vulnerability than comfort. The stasis isn’t easy to live through.
The emptying of lives that the pandemic has brought about is fascinating, even in its threat. I hadn’t imagined living through anything like this. In this reflection that has almost come in by force, the futility so found in various aspects of life must be handled carefully as we run the risk of dropping out of these pursuits that float our lives in all its years. Some may not even give a second look to what they left behind and entirely changed the way they live.