2020, when humanity was defined by a virus

Two excellent series of photos, from around the world, that feature the horror that was 2020. When this year started we thought nothing could be worse than the fires in Australia. Little did we know what was raging silently in Wuhan. Through sheer co-incidence, in January, on a Facebook post in which people were mocking the virus in China, I saw a comment by someone whose name was familiar. I looked at his profile and recognised him as having once been the manager of a restaurant I visited regularly. Now he was posting, on and off via VPN, from Wuhan. I sent him a message of support and we communicated for a while.

He told me how he and his partner were locked down in their small flat, food was delivered daily, he was able to continue teaching online, they had no idea how long it would last, they were scared, they hoped it would be contained in China. If I didn’t hear from him for a few days I would worry, but each time it turned out ok, he had simply been locked out of his VPN. Eventually, he evacuated Wuhan but chose to not return to South Africa, and went to Hong Kong instead.

And as it rained in Australia and a kaola bear became a celebrity representing the 5,000 others that died, so the virus spread throughout the world. And here we now sit, speechless, terrified and horrified at the stupidity of those who refuse to comply with safety precautions and have therefore made it much much worse than it needed to be. Some of them are even presidents of their countries. History will not remember them well, not any of them.

It’s New Year’s Eve in a few days and many more will become infected as they party. It’s holiday season and many people have insisted on going on holiday despite the danger to themselves and others. There are rumours of another presidential announcement tonight – I’m not sure if that’s true and all I can think that he might announce is a tighter curfew and another total ban on alcohol. It’s necessary because hospital trauma units are bursting with drunken drivers and drunken brawlers, but does the government have the will to do that, and what difference can it make to New Year’s Eve at this stage?

A friend visiting from Europe wants to meet me for lunch this week. I’d love to see him but he’s been socialising with friends and family so I dare not. And yet, so many people I know have been out and about non-stop for months without getting sick, and continue to do so. The chances are some will fall ill sooner or later. Some may even die.

Yes, I am resentful. Very very much so. I resent being locked up like a prisoner because others are excessive. Because others don’t wear masks. Because others drink too much alcohol. Because others hate their own company so much that they can’t stay at home. I am angry, too. Because many are too poor to isolate. Because there is stigma attached to having the virus. Because some people have to work, even when sick, to serve those who want to socialise. I’m fucking angry that when people said the economy must be restarted, they meant their workers must go and turn the wheels, and those workers are now dying like flies.

I used to think a lack of compliance was from ignorance, even on the part of those who have access to information. But I was wrong. Everything I have read, everything I have been told, every question I have asked, all show that people are not ignorant of the facts. They just don’t care. And that shocks me more than anything else. I’ve always been cynical but a part of me wanted to believe that man was inherently good. How wrong I was.

In these depressing morbid days, walking the hounds in these peaceful and beautiful surroundings has been the highlight of my days.

And again, my crowdfunding link in case anyone wants to contribute something – many thanks in advance!

About Francoise Armour

I run a small touring company (Tours du Cap) at the bottom of Africa, to show visitors the beauty and vibrant culture of the country I have lived in since my parents brought me here from France as a child. I enjoy taking photos and wish I had learnt to do it properly. I enjoy writing but don't do enough of it. I enjoy walking in the mountains that surround me and I marvel over the views and the flowers and the amazing rock formations. I have a small, cute, clever, black dog of indeterminable breed, named Vida, who reminds me regularly that walking and getting out is not only for when tourists want it.

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A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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