Phase One: Denial

Corona was said to be approaching, spreading across the borders, officially reported in Italy and Algeria. The weather this winter has been all but wintery. It was said that the virus doesn't survive in the heat, that's why spring rushed in and February has been warm enough for the bees to hatch. I found it uplifting to see a premature hatching of the bees! It was said that the virus's fatality was overrated. They reported statistics in the radio this morning about it and the Taxi driver said it was America. Why wasn't it spread in Denmark, why wasn't it in I don't know where in Europe? How come China's economy was getting too strong? he said; they built a frigging hospital in 10 days! One expects anything in politics, indeed; not everyone, however is endowed with such level of political analysis. My friend Sarah, fond of documentaries, said that the Chinese ate everything that moved: bugs, bats, turtles, maggots… you name it! From another perspective, the virus was associated with God's revenge, which accounted for divine justice. But I doubt this theory is still valid now that precautions are recommended from our own ministry of health. A doctor in the radio said that they had almost found a medicine, one that was, not newly created, but an old one that when tried out on patients, they sort of breathed better… On the other hand, it was a virus, my father said, and viruses don't have a treatment. It was exactly like a flu only a bit stronger (he knows about the stats) and it was common for the flu to kill tons of people every year. It was just that the Chinese are too many. That's why it appeared like an epidemy. Temperature has started to drop down. Well, gladly! It hasn't rained for too long and it was said that we might instead die of hunger if the rainless heat persisted. Even after the official declaration of the first Tunisian case (Taxi man said it was probably a hundred cases already but they wouldn't say), one would still scroll among all kinds of jokes in the social media. I even saw the virus itself having a fb account and commenting that it had never been so humiliated, so disgracefully slandered! Mom hears the radio, and all they talk about is prevention methods. She said it was a ball of crap. The garlic price went from 8 to 30 dinars! A mere exploitation. People have no mercy toward each other and expect God to have mercy! She told my brother to wash his hands frequently, but he didn't really believe in soap. “They found no medicine that would kill it, and you think soap will?” I'm actually seeing a professionally illustrated poster by Tunisian Red Crescent saying literally “Don't kiss me, don't hug me. A smile to my face makes me happy!” Dad, with an almost gay detachment insisted it might only be serious to people who were vulnerable: The old, the sick, the frail… otherwise it's just a flu. The mail man at work whose heart's been operated more than once said “So what? Let it drop down a little” (referring to the population), “some filtering would be good”. I think he's the only one who heartily acknowledges the virus's right as a lifeless organism to coexist. Does this thing only affect humans? I wonder, because I care to see more bee swarms coming along in the spring; I might even catch some and populate a hive or two.

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