Corona Virus Grips Humanity in Fear
By ROSE DELA CRUZ
On May 1, 2020, the Associated Press summarized in photographs the radical changes that beset humanity throughout the world because of coronavirus. The pictures showed erstwhile busy streets and tourist/business centers emptied of bodies and activities with governments worldwide declaring lockdowns and people being urged to stay home and maintain social/physical distancing to protect themselves and stop the spread of the virus which has killed millions around the globe.
“For weeks in some places, months in others, swaths of humanity have zipped themselves into hibernation, trying to ride out a viral storm that has killed millions of humans and sickened many more., wrote Ted Anthony,” national write of Associated Press.
As humans have disappeared into that coronavirus cocoon, other things like animals have asserted themselves. And, counterintuitively, the majesty of some of the structures that humans have created for themselves, Anthony said.
He said AP photographers documenting the era of COVID-19 were dispatched to chronicle a single theme: “Our Majestic World” to capture the changing landscape that contains few, if any, humans and showcase the things that, for this moment in history, have taken their place. “Take your time and work the light,” were the instructions to these often in-the-moment photojournalists.
Inside Beijing’s imposing Forbidden City, home to generations of emperors and shuttered by the virus for the moment, a bird is the only sign of animal life visible.
In Russia, during the city’s lockdown, the Moscow River seems like glass.
In Washington, never has the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial reflected more purely.
The photograph that speaks the loudest is a glimpse of a major, multilane road just outside of Los Angeles freeways empty at last. The 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway leading to downtown LA — reveals utter desolation under a sky of fierce pink clouds.
New York City officials asked all residents (except for essential workers) to stay home starting on March 22, leaving iconic landmarks like Times Square nearly empty. The desertion feels even more stark considering that before lockdown, approximately 380,000 pedestrians passed through the heart of Times Square every day.
The Christ the Redeemer statue stands above the Guanabara bay during dusk amid the outbreak of the coronavirus in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Vatican City followed the lockdown policies of Italy, shutting down entry to the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, and St. Peter’s Square—usually teeming with devotees. As for Holy Week celebrations (which kick off on April 3), the Vatican has announced that liturgies and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper will still be celebrated in parish churches, even without the worshippers.
Malaysia went on partial lockdown (and banned travel in and out of the country), on March 16 until the end of the month. Kuala Lumpur—one of the most-visited cities in 2019—currently has empty streets and highways as residents practice self-quarantine.
A woman wears a protective mask while walking across an empty street in Beijing, where virus-related measures include the closure of tourist attractions, social distancing in restaurants, and stores operating on reduced hours. China was the first country to go into lockdown (specifically in Wuhan)—a lockdown which may be ending. A view of the deserted that (steps leading down to the water) on the banks of the Ganges River. Varanasi is quiet.
The Philippines banned domestic travel to and from Manila – a megacity of 12 million people – beginning the lockdown on March 15. Community quarantine was later imposed in the entire country. The lockdown banned mass gatherings and suspension of classes, religious and other events and public transportation unless a vaccine, by the grace of God, will be invented.
An express train bound for the Narita International Airport departed Tokyo Station on time at 5:33 p.m. with only one passenger.
That same night, there was only one international flight listed on the departures board, to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. Every other outbound international flight was canceled.
An eerie emptiness enveloped the sacred Kaaba in Mecca’s Grand Mosque (Islam’s holiest site) on March 6, where attendance at Friday prayers was hit by measures to protect against the coronavirus. In addition to closing mosques, Saudi Arabia has also shut down schools and stopped international flights.
A view shows deserted ghat (steps leading down to the water) on the banks of the Ganges River during a one-day nationwide curfew on March 22. It’s rare to see Varanasi this quiet, as tourists and pilgrims typically flock to the sacred Hindu city in droves.
The emptiness is temporary as humanity hunkers down awaiting for better tomorrows.