Indifference in the Face of Coronavirus

I sit in my Modiin home in Israel and listen to the police on loudspeaker imploring residents to stay indoors while they prepare the streets to be disinfected with chemicals. I’m grateful, but an eerie feeling washes over me.

Malls, restaurants and workplaces have shut their doors until further notice. Patients are being tracked. Quarantine violators are being investigated. The sound of a cough has people whispering. People look at each other with suspicion while cashiers wear masks and gloves. Children are homeschooled, the stock market plummets, and international borders close.

No, this is not a scene from the Handmaid’s Tale. This is real life. But real life is starting to feel a lot more like a movie, except we don’t know how this one ends, what the final impact will be, or how this will change the fabric of our society and the ways we interact.

We do seem to know one thing for certain — living in the 21st century apparently didn’t preclude us from living through a global pandemic of this scale. And the question remains — how do we, as individuals, as a collective, react?

It’s just a two percent death rate, some say. We’re young and healthy, others say. If we get it, at worst it’ll be like the flu, at best we won’t even know we had it. But not everyone will be so lucky. And anyone who loses someone will experience it not 2%, but 100%.

Messages on social media are pouring in from Italy and Spain, countries that have been hit hard, begging the world to take the virus seriously. To be extra vigilant. To learn from them. To stay at home, while there’s still time. However eerie this feels, the infringement on our privacy and our rights — the freedoms we are losing today, they are for the sake of saving lives tomorrow. Let’s not be indifferent to life. Not today. Not ever.

About the Author
Sarit was born in Israel and grew up in Toronto. She obtained a Masters in Public Policy and worked as a policy advisor for the Ontario government. Being the only Orthodox Jew at work, she began to humorously chronicle her experiences of being observant in the modern workplace in her blog, The Working Yid. In 2019, Sarit moved to Israel with her husband and baby boy and has been writing about her Aliya experiences and what it means to be an Orthodox Jew in the 21st Century. Her blog, and Instagram page, are now called The Modern Yid.
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