Sorry to start off on a depressing note, but there’s no one reading this who isn’t at an age where death is a risk. From infants to the elderly, and everywhere in between, there’s no guarantee of health for anyone, and covid-19 has been a sobering reminder of how fragile the balance of life can be. The good news is you’re reading this, so chin up ; )
To anyone dealing with serious issues right now though, I’m deeply sorry.
It’s because of this that I can’t quite wrap my head around how much sadder the world would be, if we were effectively cut off from loved ones in their time of need, while the world waits for a vaccine? Recent headlines brought on by officials from the Pacific to Europe suggest that may be a reality, or at the very least until 2021.
Don’t get me wrong – I believe in the invaluable importance of adhering to stay at home orders and strictly following social distancing restrictions in every way possible. I absolutely cannot stand when someone wantonly walks too close to me, on my once daily outside activity.
I’m taking this crisis with full sincerity, just like the rest of you, but I’m increasingly discouraged by remarks from governments about when the possibility of travel will exist again, without any plan, or basis for the remarks.
My biggest point of frustration: not one country has mentioned communicating with others about creating an approach that works for all. Despite this being a global issue effecting everyone, each country is dealing with it on their own, as if they don’t all depend on each other.
In recent days, Spain and Italy joined New Zealand in the camp that tends to believe there won’t be any travel in 2020, and even 2021 is watch and see. As part of the Schengen Zone of Europe, they’re already sending different signals than other countries within the same group. That’s not supposed to be.
My problem with this isn’t about missed birthday parties, sunsets or even lost experiences, but the real possibility of not being able to reach loved ones in times of need. I don’t want to be responsible for endangering anyone else, but I don’t want to be disconnected from someone, if something were to happen.
With each day, it’s an increasingly real possibility. Just months into the crisis, 90% of global flight routes are cut, so it’s hard to imagine how much further that will go if travel isn’t rebounding until a vaccine – some 18 months away – is found. In other words – travel to where you need to go may not be there when you need it, with each day this continues.
In speaking to readers, even when health concerns are on the decline, people still express fear of random unilateral and unannounced border closures. The way governments have acted – selfishly and without thought – has people worried, and those worries are spreading fear on top of fear.
I’m 33, keep generally fit, but every day brings new challenges to everyone’s life, lock down or not. Every sane person has these worries, particularly since there’s no easy way of undergoing regular health screenings at the moment.
Early detection for other leading global causes of death like cancer and heart disease are being missed daily, and one that’s close to my heart, infant and prenatal deaths are said to be on the rise because mothers are finding it tougher to venture to hospitals, or don’t want to further burden an already burdened system and find it’s too late when they do.
Of course, it’s all for a vitally important reason, but it’s not like there is only one problem facing the world at any given moment, and this is why it’s all so hard to cope with. We’re all coping in different ways and struggling with different fears, but we must seek community, cross nation solutions based on science, statistics and intelligence.
Watching the news all day is hardly helping with any of those things, sadly.
I understand fully that as an American citizen, I could travel to the United States right now, and that my wife and daughter could join, but every day, there are fewer opportunities. And being married to someone from a different country, as an ever increasing number of people around the world are, it’s not like it would solve anything. It would just mean the other half of the family separated.
Why risk it?
There’s no immediate need to travel right now, and I certainly wouldn’t want to place my wife, infant or anyone else at risk so we’re staying put. Like many people, it’s the thoughts of future needs that are worrying.
As noted, there’s only so long governments and or cargo can subsidize these loss making skeleton flights, and before more country links are cut. That’s if – and it’s a big if – practical measures aren’t put into place to safeguard travel to an acceptable level and open up borders beforehand.
Is that going to be easy? Definitely not, but there are already decent proposals being discussed.
It’s precisely why I just can’t stand the irresponsibility of government leaders and ministers in Europe, Pacific and beyond, who are signalling lengthy travel ban end dates, when so much more information is necessary. It’s taking people from fear to panic, and the news is spreading it like spores in the air, except they’re pumped right into our homes.
The idea of waiting 18 months for a vaccine is one thing when it’s a boozy beach holiday at stake, but it’s another when it’s priceless time with family and loved ones in a critical time of life. If it’s truly the best solution, so be it. But once again, for every action there’s a reaction, and it’s hard to say what will suffer from such a move.
And sure, while we’re talking real world – the literal trillions of dollars being lost and the businesses like restaurants, bars, guides and hotels folding daily would probably like a more optimistic outlook as well. Thinking of this as purely travel centric is naive.
The thing is: people listen to government officials, and they’re not doing much good right now.
Many of us collectively *want* to believe that people in government are in positions of authority because they are deserving of authority. When these people then go and tell rooms full of cameras about a variety of hypothetical situations, which may or may not be within a year of reality, it disheartens the world.
Worse, it can expedite the downfall of an airline, hotel, or restaurant, which was holding out hope. There’s a balance, and governments aren’t striking it. Even countries within Europe’s Schengen Zone, which is supposed to act in unison, are signalling vastly different periods of recovery, from the early second half of 2020 to well into the second quarter of 2021. What good is that doing anyone?
Covid-19 has realistically been known to us for four months now, with only two where most of the world had a clue, at best. Saying there’s a further 18 months of being stuck in your local community before travel will be feasible again breaks spirits, without needing to. It’s creating added anxiety globally, and it’s ludicrous.
I’d like to think I’m fairly pragmatic and that actually I’m one of the least affected by this crisis. I run a successful blog with little overhead, a generously loyal audience and I’ve always worked from home on the rare occasion I was home. News of long sustained global travel shutdowns from positions of authority cast doubt in my mind, and until countries ban together and discuss bilateral exit strategies it’s all just useless noise.