by Amiel Lacorte

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

This is the famous opening of Charles Dicken’s novel, A Tale of two Cities.  A simple and powerful statement that was relevant before and is still sure relevant today. 

Year 2020 has just  began and we have experienced a lot already from the possibility of World War 3, Australian Bushfire, Taal volcano eruption in the Philippines, Turkey earthquake, Indonesian floods, Himalayan avalanche, and the biggest of them all – coronavirus outbreak, which was declared by the World Health Organization  (WHO) on March 11, 2020 as a pandemic.   

The coronaviruses belong to family of viruses that ranges from common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The virus way of transmission is through droplets of saliva, coughs and sneezes. That is why it is highly advised reduce human contact in order to slow down its transmission. As a response, most countries decided to impose a community quarantine or total lockdown that resulted to one-third of the total population being at home.

The response to the total lockdown or community quarantine varies from country and people. For some the request to stay at home seems to be a dream come true. Never in our wildest dreams have we imagined that we would be asked to stay and work from the comfort of our homes by the government and our bosses. It seems to be an escape from the everyday hustle of life, a way to make up for lost time, a way to sleep and relax while saving the world. Sadly this is not always the case. For some of our brothers and sisters, the pandemic only made their lives more miserable and their problems much bigger. As though living from hand to mouth and living day to day is not a problem, they now also need to deal with stricter security measures, limited mobility, shortage of supplies, and the threat of an unseen enemy every time they go out.  Given the illusion of choice and the only outcome is death, either die of hunger or die from the plague. 

The pandemic amplified the pre-existing ills of our society like the gap between the rich and the poor, but it also did bring out the best and worst of us as a nation, as a city, and as individuals. We saw that there are those among us who are willing to go above and beyond their duty and comfort zone to help those who are in need. There are the frontliners who are putting themselves at risk everyday fighting this pandemic so that you and I could live to fight another day; leaders from every facet of society making sure that everyone is taken care of and no one is left behind; and essential workers like janitors, bankers, and grocery workers who have not abandoned their post even in the midst of crisis.

In this season we also saw there are those among us who will take advantage of the crisis for their personal gain. We witnessed how some leaders abandoned their people at the first sign of trouble, we saw some people wonder like a sheep without a shepherd because they were turned down by the very institutions they trust.

Truly my friends we are living in the best of times and the worst of times. This crisis will pass but the decisions and actions we do today will define us forever.

May we be remembered in history as the people, who in the midst of pandemic, rose up and showed the best of humanity.


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