Pandemic Slavery

It might be early days, but it very much feels like something has already gone subtly awry. The globe entered a pandemic-induced recession roughly around March 2020. The first couple of months, the news was exclusively about the virus: how it transmitted and manifested, what outcomes it presented, how lethal it was. No matter whether you were watching TV, listening to the radio or checking online websites, the gist of the message was the same: “stay home, stay safe”. The mood was closer to “this too shall pass” than to “duck and cover”. It got quickly sugar-coated with the news that Central Banks and Federal Reserves would be there to hand you a check and almost see you through this. If you tried, you could almost feel the only way for the post-pandemic world was up, towards total togetherness. Humanity had been restored on the back of a deadly and pernicious virus.

Fast forward to June 2020. Layoffs scarcely make the news, but they are as present as ever. Many of those who were hurting continue to hurt and might still hurt for years to come. Some jobs are gone forever and others are simply hanging in the balance. Vulnerability is the name of the game as we enter the second half of one of the worst years in the recorded history of this generation. When COVID-19 struck, I didn’t expect to be spared…and yet I was. Maybe I was complacent, or I simply let myself go after a while. It was, it simply is, too stressful to think that each day is a lottery and the only way to another day is to win it.

The second wave is here. We do not need to wait until autumn. I will eventually succumb to COVID-19 or I will to its consequences. We are all pandemic slaves. Some of us will continue to toil away, blind to the noise of the crumbling house of cards around us. Others may just be let go, with very few words between the news and the exit. Laptop and phone handover. Erased from system. Goodbye.

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