Br(u)no: Remember Those Who Rise to the Challenge. Quarantine Week 7

Something that has stayed with me throughout this pandemic quarantine is the matter-of-fact explanation that Emily Landon, the chief infectious disease epidemiologist at University of Chicago Medicine, gave as part of a press conference to announce the reasons for the state-wide quarantine in Illinois.

“It’s really hard to feel like you’re saving the world when you’re watching Netflix from your couch,” Landon said in mid-March. “But if we do this right, nothing happens. A successful shelter-in-place means you’re going to feel like it was all for nothing, and you’d be right: Because nothing means that nothing happened to your family. And that’s what we’re going for here.”

Perhaps, “nothing happened” is true for many of us. We were inconvenienced. We lost some salary. We got a bit stir crazy. We didn’t get a cinematic climax. But “nothing happened” means that the COVID-19 pandemic was mostly under control.

Yet, now that the Czech Republic and Brno are slowly opening back up, it important to know that these seven weeks were not “nothing”. The mind-numbing statistics have become ubiquitous and even begun to lose power, but each tally reflects a real tragedy.

“Nothing happened” is not true for everyone. Many in our community made real sacrifices: Doctors. Nurses. Ambulance drivers. Medical-student testers. The armed forces. Policemen. Firefighters. Transit workers. Long-haul truckers. Even grocery-store clerks and garbage men and small restaurants and pharmacy workers. The list goes on and on.

It is too much to call all of these people “heroes”; nevertheless, many put themselves in harm’s way and it is not a stretch to believe that many of them are, in fact, heroic.

Many more stepped up to volunteer. People delivered food to seniors. The local Vietnamese community raised money and made face masks (click here to see the story.) Farmers in Ivančice, who have recently restarted the tradition of growing Asparagus, will donate their first crop to those who have been affected by the coronavirus. FC Zbrojovka raised more than a million crowns for charity by selling commemorative tickets to a long-ago legendary game. Many people have foregone getting refunds for missed theatrical performances or running-race entry fees.

These are great stories and every little bit counts.

We should never forget these sacrifices. It means that lives were saved.

Saturday, April 25 — Day 43

Spring cleaning has continued. Several trips to the recycling containers have emptied the garage. The basement is next.

Sunday, April 26 — Day 44

Bought sand for the kids to have their own sand box in the backyard. They are big enough to play by themselves and without constant supervision. That’s good and bad: It means that we’ll be able to focus on projects in the garden — and it means we will have to work in the garden.

Monday, April 27 — Day 45

Sports are slowly starting back up. Today, football leagues announced that they will be able to start on May 25, with a likely season extension through the end of June. We should know more soon, but it is unlikely that fans will be able to attend the games.

Tuesday, April 28 — Day 46

My kids love to watch cooking videos. They’re good helpers in the kitchen, too. We started to experiment with rice noodles and a stir fry. Pad Thai is next. I also want to learn how to make pierogies.

I ordered seven bottles of alcohol from Rohlík. Nightly Whiskey Sours have become habitual and it is time to expand the cocktail repertoire. Not sure if it is a great idea for my kids to watch the how-to-make-a-martini videos.

Wednesday, April 29 — Day 47

It feels like time for a vacation. A weeklong trip to Northern Italy was cancelled last month. So was my trip to Scotland to meet up with my sister and her son and watch the Czech Republic play in Euro2020. I hope the third time is the charm. We made reservations for a week in the Czech mountains in August. We made sure to study the cancellation policy.

Thursday, April 30 — Day 48

This is the night that I have had an annual party to burn bad memories in a backyard bonfire. It is the night to burn witches. I did, with the neighbors and a friend.

This night also used to be deadline for the Brno Short Story Writing Contest. This year, the deadline is May 17. Click here for the Official Rules.

Friday, May 1 — Day 49

Many people are out and about. Facemasks are starting to look voluntary. I’m not so sure that everything is completely over — and I fear that COVID-19 will not be completely gone over the summer and that it will all start up again in the fall.

* * *

Did you volunteer your time to help people through this coronavirus situation? Is there anyone you would like to thank?

Tell us about it in the comments below or on Facebook.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Top stories in your mailbox every morning.

Brno Daily Subscribe
Sign up for morning news in your mail