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Photo: how coronavirus has upset life in six places around the world

It often seems that the world is shrinking, that almost all of us are interconnected, our different cultures linked by things from Internet memes to the latest Netflix movie. But for generations nothing has tied the world as much as the coronavirus pandemic. It quickly became a common language: fear, helplessness, empty and unnerving streets, empty parks and closed schools. Traveling by plane, cruise ship and train, the virus binds Seoul to Tehran in Milan to Washington state, where it has spread to places of worship and conferences, offices, schools and markets. “This is a borderless virus,” said Olaf Scholz, Germany’s deputy chancellor and finance minister, urging people around the world to use it as a battle cry. “It actually shows that solidarity is the only way we can move forward as human beings.”

You love me

Florida faces unique challenges amid the coronavirus epidemic, the health crisis that has potentially disastrous consequences for the aging population in a place that depends heavily on the people they want to visit. The cruise and travel industry has already been hit hard, with residents like Gabriella Simonelli, executive director of Perfection Travel in Miami, saying that the implications of the coronavirus are threatening: “We survive through tourism.” Your business has issued refunds for cruises and flights booked with your agency. Simonelli also said it was scheduled for a cruise this week, but has decided not to because of the recent cold he has had. “What if they put me in quarantine? For me, it’s not worth it.”

Asma Ghazouani, a Tunisian Fulbright scholar who studied at Southern Illinois University, was in South Point Park in Miami Beach during the spring break, watching the cruise ships pass on Wednesday. “Coronavirus for me is proof that we have reached global connection status,” he said. “What happens in a particular country will affect others. It will affect the economy and global health.”

Cruise ships have been at the center of concern for coronavirus, with some ships having to sit in quarantine at sea and their passengers subsequently had to spend time in federal quarantine on their return to the United States. There have been nearly 700 confirmed coronavirus cases among cruise ship passengers and crew, and some cruise lines have suspended service during the outbreak.


The coronavirus had a huge toll on Italy, with over 15,000 confirmed cases of 19 covids and more than 1,000 deaths, leading to a blockade that left parks and public spaces empty.

Every year at the end of February, an amusement park is set up in front of the Civic Arena. Children wait for him all year round and during his stay the park is one of the most crowded places in Milan. It is closed this year to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Other public spaces are also strangely silent, due to social distancing, with lonely people taking breaks in places like the Porta Venezia park.

The blockade in Italy imposed restrictions on 60 million people, part of a European outbreak that rapidly increased in terms of scale and impact in a matter of days. The blockade, and others like it, aimed to slow the spread of the virus. The outbreak of Italy and other hotspots in neighboring countries have led President Trump to ban most foreign citizens traveling from Europe to the United States.

The fear is that much of Europe – and perhaps the United States – could face peaks of coronavirus infections like that in Italy in the coming weeks. “Italy is about two weeks ahead of Britain and the rest of Europe,” said Francois Balloux, director of the Genetics Institute at University College London. German officials said they feared that up to 70% of its citizens could become infected if the spread is not brought under control. The emptiness of Italian public spaces could be reflected elsewhere.

King County, Wash.

The first epicenter of the epidemic in the United States emerged in Kirkland, Washington, a community on the outskirts of Seattle. One nursing home, the Life Care Center, saw more than 50 of its residents and staff fall ill during the epidemic and had died since Friday 25 – representing more than half of all covid-19-related deaths in the United States. The outbreak resulted in restrictions on rallies and cancellations of public events.

Sue Heale, executive director of the Kirkland Academy of Music and Performance, moved her lessons online, providing digital instructions via video chat. Claire Raymond, 9, received remote piano instructions to avoid the potential spread of the virus. “The biggest challenge is that this disease is moving so fast. Every day I wake up and have this huge weight in decision making,” says Heale. “If we were to close, we would end up out of business in two to four weeks.”

At Café Suisse in Seattle, Urs Berger waits for customers across the street from the Amazon campus. He said loyal customers made him go at a time when the authorities begged the residents to keep their distance from each other, saying they did not sit “shoulder to shoulder” in the city’s factories. The streets of Seattle have been empty for the past few days.


In South Korea, life in the entertainment districts has stopped. The video game lounges, which are very popular, have been criticized for not being more alert to the virus. And the food markets and restaurants are empty, giving local businesses a blow.

South Korea has taken the viral epidemic seriously, doing over 10,000 tests per day. The country has tested more than 240,000 people, or about one for every 250 people, among the highest test rates in the world. From drive-through kiosks to hospitals to local clinics, hundreds of test sites are available across the country and the tests are largely free. For the elderly or those who are too sick to go out, doctors visit their homes to take swabs for tests.

South Koreans have closed restaurants to help stop the virus from spreading. Some waited a long time to purchase protective masks in Seoul’s pharmacies.


So many things have been canceled or suspended due to the virus, from the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament to professional sporting events to Broadway shows. But the cancellation of the South by Southwest Festival in Austin this year – one of the distinctive annual things that “makes Austin weird” – was a huge disappointment for the capital of Texas. Hotels and bars have promised to continue however with events and musical encounters.

At Feels So Good Records, a shop in downtown Austin, canceling South by Southwest is “a shame but it’s not the end of the world,” said Felipe Granados, musician and co-owner of the shop. “They will have control of the coronavirus and everyone will return next year.” The crews removed the banners for the event – also known as SXSW – an international interactive, film and music festival.

Blake Bermel, an artist called “Mez Data”, said that seven of his planned murals have been canceled and he estimates that he is losing thousands of dollars because SXSW isn’t happening this year. He said that many local workers – artists, musicians, club owners – depend on this time of year. “I know there are many others who are happy not to deal with this headache, but for us it is like, friend, this is our income, this is a substantial part of what we do during the year, so it’s really important. “

Yokohama, Japan

Tokyo’s Chinatown has been abandoned, just like other Chinatowns around the world, an example of how some stereotypes persist. Coronavirus had a huge effect in China, where there were more than 80,000 cases and over 3,000 deaths – and in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe closed schools for a month after the cases started to rise.

As the streets empty out in Chinatown, Japan has repeatedly insisted that postponing or canceling the Tokyo Olympics scheduled for this summer is not an option. The country is preparing for them as usual, even if sporting events around the world took place without spectators or were completely canceled.

About this story

Photo editing by Chloe Coleman, Karly Domb Sadof and Olivier Laurent. Jake Crump design and development.


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