A woman wearing a face mask amid concerns about the spread of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus walks on a street in Beijing on March 2. The virus has spread to more than 25 countries since it emerged in December. (Photo: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)
The coronavirus Covid-19 is spreading around the world, generating a syndrome of universal contagion. Humanity's system of worldwide interconnection gives us a paradoxical experience: the more connected we are, the more contact can turn into contagion, communication into contamination, influences into infections.
The apocalypse is at hand. Antibodies are triggered, which go crazy and become an immune system against everything we fear, do not recognize, or cannot control. Viruses have long been a feature of our landscape: from the biblical plagues to Manzoni’s descriptions of the bubonic plague in The Betrothed, and on to today’s cyberattacks. The boundaries of the soul narrow with the discovery of our vulnerability.
The pandemic in these cases always ends up being one marked by insecurity and anxiety. The coronavirus seems to have also become today a symptom (and a symbol) of a more general condition of fear that we carry within us.