Coronavirus has changed our lives forever

Coronavirus has changed our lives forever
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Coronavirus has changed our lives forever

The coronavirus has changed how we will live forever. Social distancing is here to stay. Concern about viruses and pandemics will not go away anytime soon. Things we should have learned from the politics of the 1918 “Spanish Flu” which wasn’t Spanish at all. And why we need to boycott China.

By Ray Hanania

The coronavirus has changed all of our lives forever.

Even though many of the things that we are doing now to fight the coronavirus now are similar to the things done in 1918 when the Spanish Flu spread from America to the world, I have a feeling the changes will last a lot longer.

The Spanish Flu, didn’t originate in Spain as was asserted in 1918. That was a political claim intended to help the Allies fight the Axis powers during World War I.

The Spanish Flu started right here in the United States, but because we were at war, it was prohibited for anyone to speak about it publicly. When it spread through our troops to Europe and to the British and French, they were complicit, too, and kept it quiet.

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N95 Hospital quality coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic face mask.

N95 Hospital quality coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic face mask.

When Spain announced two months later that it was dealing with the new virus, suddenly everyone started calling it the Spanish Flu, according to historians who have written about it in depth.

Despite the political blame game, and the World War, many of the precautions we take today were taken in 1918 but were not continued. “Social Distancing” was one of the first things people did. People stopped shaking hands and kissing each other on the sides of their faces.

It was clear the virus spread faster in poorer areas of the country where the economic burdens were greater and there were fewer jobs. People lived closer together, in smaller more crowded premises and spread the virus faster, as they do today, too.

But eventually all went back to normal.

I’m not sure that will happen this time.

I used to travel and watch Japanese tourists and commuters wear surgical face masks over the years. It was a part of their culture because the Japanese also lived in closer, tighter quarters in Japan. I thought it was strange and wondered if I could do that.

Now, I do it without thinking driving around with a face mask under my chin while in the car and flipping it up when I leave the car.

I don’t shake hands anymore, the symbol of every level of power from politics to business and even social interaction.

Being Arab American, I come from a culture that is excessively welcoming. We call everyone “cousin” especially when they are not related to us to emphasize that welcoming nature of Arab culture. We hug and actually plant kisses on the faces of family, relatives, friends and even strangers. Twice, once on each side of the face if you are Jordanian, Palestinian, Syrian or Egyptian, and three times if you are Lebanese.

Despite the rumors, we eat with utensils like knives and forks, etc., but there is one Bedouin dish called Mensiff which is a giant silver tray of rice topped with lamb chunks and a sauce made from goat milk called Jameed. When that dish is served, some Arabs with a Bedouin culture in their country, sit around it and eat with their hands, thus the stereotype.

Well, all that of course, is going to stop.

Even when the pandemic is over, I will wear a face mask on an airplane. The truth is an airplane is like a petri dish, or more accurately, like an elementary school classroom. School children have been the source of flus since forever. They bring home every cold the same way an airplane passenger brings home the flu after a flight.

Shaking hands is over, too. And so is the Obama fist-bump. That’s done. We “air” fist-bump now and even “elbow” fist bump,” too.

No more kissing people on their faces.

I don’t need to get into the details of sexual relations but hand sanitizer is going to be there now along with the other stuff, I bet.

The good news is that people will be washing their hands now more often and we will be using more and more hand sanitizer. In fact, go out and buy stock in American hand sanitizer companies.

One more thing. China will get the brunt of the coronavirus backlash. The jury is out on whether they were engaged in developing the coronavirus as a “chemical weapon” to use against America, and it slipped out by accident or on purpose, but clearly America has been the biggest loser in the COVID-19 fight, based on the numbers (not percentages). American continues to lead the pack on infections and deaths.

I won’t buy ANYTHING “Made in China” anymore. Companies that rely on Chinese production won’t be seeing much of my money any more. I’m going to cut them out even more now than I did before, and you should, too.

Using Chinese made hand sanitizers or face masks, or buying any Chinese made products, is only a sign that you don’t care about your health.

Ray Hanania

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