Quarantine Diaries, Day 33

(Posted 18 Apr 2020, 21:49)

19:05 Centraal Station was eerily quiet. All the shops inside were closed (save for one to-go grocery store), no announcements played in the hallways and the turnstiles were empty. And with hardly anyone traveling, the row of cabs outside was down to just three.

Empty turnstilesEmpty turnstiles

Taxi standTaxi stand

It broke my heart.

18:45 On the way home, we stopped by at the HIV-AIDS monument. It looks like a giant abacus and signifies the direct and indirect toll of the disease over the many decades1. There was a time when being diagnosed with HIV would mean a hasty death sentence. While a vaccine is still not in sight, over the years, we have invented drugs and prophylactics that prolong life and slow its spread. Would we be forced to make a similar compromise with SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19? We’ve been living under the shadow of one pandemic for decades, would we be able to cope with two?

HIV-AIDS MonumentHIV-AIDS Monument

18:30 We walked past the row of swings next to Muziekgebouw. The municipal authorities had packed away every other swing so you could enjoy the swings while keeping your distance. The halving of public space capacity is going to be one of the many things that would change about our societies.

Swings that conform to official social-distancing specsSwings that conform to official social-distancing specs

09:10 Both the wife and I took a day off from work to decompress. Given the size of our apartment, if one of us is working and video conferencing all day, it’s impossible for the other person to catch a quiet moment. Normally, if one of us were working from home, the other would be in their office or would go out - sit in a cafe, read a book, go to the library, take a day trip to one of the small Dutch towns. None of these activities are possible these days.

  1. Wikipedia informs me that AIDS has killed 35 million people since 1981. I would’ve guessed a number an order of magnitude smaller.↩︎

April 17, 2020