April 10, 2020 Covid
Just over 1.5 million cases worldwide and the discipline is slipping.
Here in Germany we’re comparatively lucky because we are allowed to leave the house. It’s encouraged that you don’t, but exceptions such as going to work, doing exercise, and going grocery shopping are still allowed. I’ve noticed that those three reasons cover about 80% of reasons why I leave the house even under normal circumstances, so it hardly feels like a restriction. Until it comes to avoiding people, which is surprisingly difficult.
There’s also no curfew. No shelter-in-place order. All we’re supposed to do is stay mostly at home, wash our hands religiously, and keep a 1.5 meter distance from each other… which means that people increasingly find excuses to see each other at a distance. We bring each other birthday cakes. We hover, awkwardly, at the 1.5 meter distance. We meet at the park to go running, keeping two arm lengths apart. And in my case, I regularly go to my apartment to get some clothes, supplies, camera equipment—you name it.
I’ve found that there’s an admittedly dangerous joy in bending those rules. I have qualms about it, I’m careful about it, but I try and at least act within the liberal limits that the country and the city afford me. Looking around, I’m hardly the only one: The streets are full of people, I’ve never seen so many runners, cyclists, and weekend excursions in my life.
The problem with all these exceptions is that the whole crisis seems less, not more real by the day. What felt like a dangerous, invisible menace at first, is increasingly becoming something abstract, a number I check every day, less tangible with each day that goes by.