Corona Chronicles – The Virus Diaries Day 1 – Martin Bugelli

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Good morning from this dream country… the home of all the shades of grey!

I landed in Brussels last night, not knowing when I shall be able to return to Malta, since the Govt has imposed a 2-week minimum obligatory quarantine for anyone arriving from abroad. The week there was peppered with pain and panic. The pain following my intervention has subsided well and is now manageable, although I don’t know when or whether I will ever eat ice-cream again, since the operated jaw bone is extremely sensitive even to something just cool.

My pain is manageable and to be expected; but the fear I saw on people’s faces was not. It is primal … a fear of the unknown and the invisible, like the first half of the movie JAWS, when you don’t see the shark. However, personal care and attention help to handle a fear that is sometimes fuelled by misinformation, rumours, lack of knowledge – all possibly leading to irrationality.

The numbers are also not as bad as they seem, once they are considered in absolute terms. After all, a thousand or two or twenty may be deemed high, but populations are much larger. Those among us who are healthier and can probably weather an infection should think of those who are more vulnerable. The most we can do at this point is make sure that we do not endanger them ourselves, and this should be our primary concern. Think also of those front-line soldiers, the health workers, who are the real-life Tom Hanks(s) of Saving Private Ryan.

Let us not succumb to over-dramatisation and focus on basic hygiene advice that is key to beating this little shit. These are trying times … so let us try to keep calm, try to keep smiling, try to keep civilised, try to maintain respect for others, try to avoid slipping into survival mode. Let us try to be compassionate and have solidarity, even if only in our thoughts.

That is what being human is all about – humanity.

Martin Bugelli 

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