Is there life after COVID-19?

By Ermin Garcia Jr.


FOR humans whose emotional strength and bond arise from physical closeness, how does one explain, invoke and demand social distancing as a way of life?  To stay away from everyone? Not only it is simply incomprehensible, it is unnatural. It is not what and how life is meant to be.

Couples, family members and friends need to feel the love and assurance of protection for each one by hugging, holding hands, praying, walking, sleeping and eating together… and yes, singing and dancing together.

We shake hands, high-five, go shoulder-to-shoulder to express our emotional bond with each one.

In schools, teachers and students bond, interact and by staying in one room, no matter how cramp the room is or has become.

In our culture, bayanihan is so unique to the world. We are called upon to physically come to the aid of others in need, particularly providing lending physical support for movement or to uplift spirits when faced by challenges.

Indeed, nothing can be more fulfilling than knowing that one is emotionally and physically close to another with mutual feelings.

But today, we are faced with a stark reality that tells us we can no longer be what we are, that social distancing is the key to our physical survival, literally.  Politically, we are told to forego freedom of movement.  We are enjoined to stay home if we are to feel safe from each one. Yes, to feel safe by staying away from each other. To shun a dear friend’s physical company.

It has literally come to us considering each one being a potential threat to one’s life survival.

Thanks to technology, we still can be virtual family members, friends, lovers, neighbors, associates, allies. We can still compete in virtual sports, do virtual business, pray and sing virtually. We can continue to write virtual letters – email and text and tweet, chat. Anything is virtually possible. That’s the life before us.

This is not what we want.

We can only see, hear, write and speak but not touch love and friendship.

COVID-19 is breaking up anything human – to feel, to touch another human. It is forcing us to live in individual caves.

But, indeed, what other option or alternative for us to live physically? We are puny, powerless and vulnerable to COVID-19. Or are we?

What options, indeed, might we have to survive COVID-19?

Actually, there are several. Under quarantine conditions, we have all the time to ponder a number of things.

First, difficult as it may seem at this time, we need to feel motivated to defeat COVID-19.  We need to share the feeling of solidarity as humans, for humanity. We need to believe that it is for us to sustain the moral strength and the discipline to do what needs to be done to keep us human, to live in a society.

It is having the resolve to act with others to undo what we did wrong, to commit to changes we thought impossible, to feel free to be one with people who want their lives back.

It is about being aware that we are needed to keep in step, moving towards a goal of winning back our lives.

It is having the humility to be part of a common vision to accept, not resist, difficulties as challenges that will make us win back what COVID-19 wants us to lose, wants us to forget about ourselves as a people, as a community, as a nation, as one with the rest of the world.

That option lies in our mind. Ours is still the free will to act with determination to win with everyone.

Yes, there is life after COVID-19!  But first we must conquer it.

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