By Walter Frieiro (El Toque)
HAVANA TIMES – March 11, 2020, was a day like no other. Just a couple of hours before, 4 Italians staying in Trinidad were reported as suspected cases of the new Wuhan coronavirus. That threat confirmed many Cubans’ worse fear: that COVID-19 had reached the island.
Every part modified after that. Not only because going outside posed a health risk for the primary time, but since the country’s streets became the landscape for muted battles for no less than a chunk of chicken for the family.
Almost two years later, Cuba has survived a whirlwind of uncertainty and alter. Strict health protocols, closing borders, severe shortages, the economic reforms process, inflation, protests, vaccination campaign, emigration… all form a part of the plot of an extended series, and no one had been capable of guess the ending yet.
Cuba reopened its borders on November fifteenth, amid a tense political climate and with 959,307 positive cases and 8284 deaths racked up until this date. This opening and the arrival of some tourists went hand-in-hand with a gradual rest of services, recreational activities and other social activities.
Once more, the “new normal” was starting, this promise of going back to a life just like the one we had pre-COVID-19.
Before the pandemic, only a few people wore masks in Cuba, influenced by Asian culture or the style trend began by Bad Bunny. These young people foretold the long run, by accident.
The mask has turn into a logo within the fight against COVID-19. Unlike other countries, wearing masks in open and collective spaces remains to be compulsory in Cuba. Fines for not wearing a mask or wearing a mask incorrectly form a part of our on a regular basis reality.
Within the “new normal”, there are still long lines for any basic essential. Distancing marks are still painted on the bottom; almost at all times 1 meter apart, but they sink into oblivion with on daily basis that passes, marks which are supposedly anachronistic and can steadily disappear.
Physical distancing had never been so present in the favored imagination. Nonetheless, a bus at rush hour buried the media’s calls for keeping a protected distance.
Packed-out buses have made a comeback with the “new normal”. Those small yellow marks painted to mark every passenger’s place is only a memory now, in addition to maximum capability limits established inside buses.
While there are numerous careful individuals who proceed to avoid kisses and hugs, close physical contact has turn into an on a regular basis feature again.
Greetings have turn into difficult, yet again. When COVID-19 got here, greetings were offered with elbows or fists; but now many Cubans want to present kisses or the classic handshake. This has spread widespread confusion and makes the choice of what form of greeting to present a bit of uncomfortable.
Mass parties are back, but not for long. On December 18th, the Ciudad Deportiva held a giant electronic music event and welcomed crowds. Lots of of young people got here together to bounce and jump up and down in true Tomorrowland-style, as if COVID-19 were a thing of the past. Family gatherings or friends meeting in bars, cafes and restaurants have gotten increasingly common. Masks and physical distancing aren’t normally worn in these encounters.
Sodium hypochlorite has taken the crown because the star disinfectant throughout the pandemic. Like a doorkeeper, it stands alone in a corner at the doorway to any institution or business. Less and fewer people use it.
Then again, footmats in some places at the moment are just spectators and appear like rustic inventions with no purpose in others.
While the chance perception curve continues to drop worldwide because it becomes something now we have turn into used to, the fourth wave has begun to take a beating. New variants are spreading; we’re compelled to live with the virus. What is going to the true “new normal” appear like for Cubans? Only Time will tell and the way the pandemic evolves.