Sign of the times

Hello, dystopian new world. With the Corona pandemic showing no signs of abating, we may well be seeing the end of travel as we know it...who would have thought going viral would become so horrifyingly literal
Next time youre heading out, will you need a space suit
Next time youre heading out, will you need a space suit

Every year, a slew of dictionaries crown their chose &lsquoWord of the Year&rsquo. Some of these&mdashlike &lsquoselfie&rsquo, or &lsquoclimate emergency&rsquo&mdashare surface picks that vocalise viral popularity or growing worries. Others, like &lsquolocavore&rsquo, &lsquopost-truth&rsquo and &lsquoexistential&rsquo, push you to examine the human condition a bit more deeply. But we&rsquore not sure which way 2020&rsquos winner right go. 

We all hate unsolicited advice, but we particularly despise unsolicited change. The novel coronavirus is swiftly levelling the global economy and social networks, simultaneously exposing how ill-equipped humanity&mdashin all its shiny, tech-driven pride&mdashcan be, in dealing with crises. Yes, there are stirring success stories, but there&rsquos also enough misinformation, suppression and death going around for tragedy to be reduced to statistics. As patients recover, doctors die. As politicians drive welfare, they siphon away attention from their shadows. Travel, of course, has been flattened to virtual tours and flipping through sunny albums. 

But don&rsquot think of COVID-19 as a reckoning. Instead, it&rsquos the barometer for our capacity to change. To, for once, put aside bruised egos and self-importance, and work as a community for the greater good. And that means, no matter how hard the travel bug may have bitten you, to stay at home, follow social distancing, and contact a healthcare provider if you show symptoms. 

The world&rsquos come to a screeching halt, and it&rsquoll take some time to iron out the pile-up. Whether the stop sign stays red, or slides into yellow, will entirely depend on how we govern ourselves. It&rsquos sure to show up in 2020&rsquos Word of the Year&mdashbut will that be &lsquooutbreak&rsquo, &lsquohope&rsquo, or &lsquosurvival&rsquo 

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