Nella Coiro

Emerging from the Covid-19 Storm


“Once the storm is over you will not remember have you made it through, how do you manage to survive. You won’t even know or be sure that the storm is really over. But there’s one thing for certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walks into the storm. Once the storm is over, you will not remember how  you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t know know or even be sure that the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked into the storm. And... that’s what the  storm is all about”. ~ Haruki Murakami
This week, I chose the above quote as the focal point of this blog, since it seems to reflect our global journey concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. Long after this storm has passed, each one of us will be forever changed.
There will be changes in society that we can only I anticipate, & we e will live with  new normals. Nothing will revert back to exactly the way it was before. And, long after the dust has settled, we will still be experiencing some aftermath. We now have an entire new vocabulary like social distancing, PPE’s, N95’s.
Amazon and other online outlets made tons of money, and some people will continue to purchase their products online. This might eventually lead to the closure of many retail stores and shopping malls. What was a blessing for Amazon and online businesses was a disaster for other companies. Education will change as people continue to take online courses, and many will not go back to living on campuses again.
The aftermath of the pandemic storm has a snowball effect, and an undetermined duration. How long will it be before people go to a movie theater, sports events, restaurants, any social gathering? How long will it take before we can be around other people without feeling afraid? No one really knows.
Some cultural norms will change. Some might be temporary, until people begin to feel more comfortable, or until a vaccine is created. Others norms might become permanent, depending upon each individual’s comfort level.
What about the ways in which we interact with one another? In the past, there was always subtle peer pressure to conform to traditional greetings, and non-conformity was met with judgement. For example, there are many cultures, including my own (Italian-American), where we greet one another with hugs or cheek kisses. In fact, in some families, it is considered disrespectful not to do so, especially in greeting elders. How will we greet each other now?
Even simple social graces like shaking hands will bring about anxiety. How comfortable will you be with shaking someone’s hand right now? Yet, before the pandemic, we didn’t give it a second thought.
Personally, I’ve always preferred the “Namaste“ Indian greeting with the folded hands in the front of us, and no physical contact. Try doing the above in an Italian-American family gathering, and see what happens. It should be interesting. Let’s face it, like it or not, we usually conform to the cultural norms consistent with our upbringing. 
In Catholic religious services, there’s a part of the mass where the congregants offer each other “the sign of peace”, which includes handshaking. How comfortable will people be with this now? How safe is it? How will this affect romantic relationships and social interactions? As you can see it gets complicated.
What have we learned? In general, although some people are selfish and “clueless, most people follow the CDC guidelines. Sadly, others follow our current enempt leadership and those  who know nothing about science.
We will come face-to-face with the fact that we have no idea what’s going to happen tomorrow. We need to live with uncertainty, live with the unanswered questions, and we’re powerless over everything except our own behavior and attitudes. 
regardless of the circumstances however we are going to survive! I always do!

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