of the Virus: COVID-19 and its Consequences
looked like it was going to radically change the world. But if
it managed to bring people together as they commiserated about
their common fear, it also let loose a shuddering flood of suspicion
and generosity, xenophobia and acceptance, hatred and tenderness,
superstition and investigative potential.
it to the 1918 Spanish Flu, but without the internet those who
had been affected a hundred years earlier didn't know they were
part of a vast suffering community. With COVID-19, people from
around the world watched other communities cope and fall apart,
their favourite celebrities break down on screen, and conspiracy
fantasies proliferate. Such was the temper of the times that the
words of mad people online began seem as valid as the statistics
of the disease, and statements from health authorities seemed
to be laced with fear and suspicion.
maelstrom of dread and mayhem, a small group of people found their
lives shredded or enhanced, as they struggled to survive the new
circumstances of widespread fear, contagion, and government crackdowns.
With the internet to fuel their doubts and delights, they sought
for answers from a system which had been built more for entertainment
than scholarly pursuit. Seeking to learn when the pandemic would
end, they didn't know if they were constructing a new community
from strangers or would be greeted by snarling dogs at their door.