It has been more than one year of pandemic in Germany now. A year of working from home, lockdowns, uncertainty and sadness. A couple of things I assumed when I started this journal a year ago:
- We’ll get a lockdown like in Wuhan
- It will be really tough for a couple of weeks or maybe months and then most countries in Europe will be more or less covid-free
- It will be years before we get a vaccine, so we have to be vigilant and careful and rely on strict distancing
- This journal will be nice to have as a document to look back at how things went and how we’ve adjusted our society for the better
If only we could look back at the pandemic as a thing of the past … But let’s be honest, if I my expectations hadn’t been so off, I wouldn’t feel so apathetic and sad about the topic.
Was I so wrong for expecting our governments to act strongly? For a while, Germany was proud about how it was handling the pandemic, doing much better than many others. But the constant urge of our politicians to bring things ‘back to normal’ all the time makes that one year later we have the worst of everything:
- Thousands of deaths
- Thousands of chronically ill
- Unmeasurable mental/psychological suffering because of loneliness, uncertainty, burnout, job loss
- Massive economic damage
- Small businesses bankrupt
- No real social life for kids, while grownups complain about the shit they do online
- Grandparents who barely could play with their grandchildren for year
- A disgruntled group of people who get increasingly vocal about how they refuse to believe there is an virus anymore because they want to hang out and party with others.
- Wealth distribution worsened with stock owners hopefully deeply satisfied with their company’s lobbyists succeeding in keeping things like car dealerships open pretty much all the time
We’re still in a raging pandemic with a much more dangerous virus mutation than what it started with. We saw it coming like the original strain and did nothing to prevent it spreading outside the UK.
On the plus side:
- There are several vaccines. Considering that much of Europe is still handling the pandemic better than others, I think it’s for the best that we have to wait a bit until we can actually order enough of it.
- I haven’t had a bad cold or flu for over a year now!
Before I wrote I feel apathetic and sad. I try to ignore the news. Because every time I occupy myself with it, I get FUCKING MAD. Like right now. WHY couldn’t we stay inside for four fucking weeks and get it over with? WHHHY do we have these conservatives who want things back to fucking ‘normal’? We can’t go back to 2019. And 2019 wasn’t even that good a year anyway. ‘Normal’ doesn’t exist anymore. We need to move things forward and make this world better than it was.
Most people agree that working from home at least part of the time is better than being in office all the time. I think we can all agree that not getting sick because of being close to people spreading their flu and diarrhea germs around is also pretty nice. If we want to avoid the worst climate disasters, we have to keep those planes grounded, stop commuting by car and stop producing so much crap.
But politics in this part of Europe is dealing with the pandemic like any issue. Trying to find consensus between a tiny group of virus deniers, industry lobbyists and people who just don’t want to die from covid is not the way to go. We need a long-term plan based on vision. Support for people getting hit hardest by the restrictions. Shop owners, freelancers, parents, children, educators and students. No stupid bail outs of industry titans. (There is nothing inherently bad about some corporations going bankrupt—some other corporation will buy them, if they’re still relevant enough.)
70% of the German population is totally fine with strict measures. The others are just not being empathetic or not bright enough to consider the consequences of letting the virus spiral further out of control. Their arguments are invalid. They’ve been heard and listened to. And because of that, one year later, the situation is actually a LOT WORSE.