English Became A World-Wide Language For Several Reasons. England Started Something Scary Was Lurking Unbeknownst to Me: The Corona Virus

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Something Scary Was Lurking Unbeknownst to Me: The Corona Virus

We heard about a virus that was stationed in China. It looked like the Chinese had gotten it under control, but I wasn’t one hundred percent sure. My imaginative, sci-fi mind was always throwing out different possibilities. I think my logical side said that the arrival of the virus in Italy would be unlikely, but I was not prepared to accept that it was unreal. Maybe four or five scenarios were thrown around in my head, and then there were plans A, B and C, should the much-talked about pandemic hit. It could have become OCD, potentially a useful acronym during 2020!

Unsurprisingly, many of my students and coworkers dismissed the idea. We believed that doctors and scientists had all the answers. Well, I didn’t trust that they had “all” the answers; However, it seemed that the smart people in China would have everything under control. Therefore, this question has become popular in English language courses. Everyone examined every possibility while most considered only the inconsequential arrival of the virus, which was expected to be more like the minor flu. I wonder if I should be talking about it during my lessons. Perhaps, I think, this topic would not be so relevant to the life of students. Maybe they needed to study business English, holidays, cooking, arts and lighter subjects.

Around me, it looked like people were sick. One of my students came to class for three weeks with a hacking cough, body aches, and a general sick appearance. She said she had to go to work and take her exams, too, because she had to take care of her husband and a child. As a student coughed several times on the other side of the table, I tried to move out of the way for fear that it might be Corona – just a natural reaction, I guess! Even one of my coworkers was under the weather. In such small cubicles filled with students and people who worked while he was sick, it was likely that respiratory diseases could spread. He would be armed, no doubt, with a bottle of liquid soap and even hand sanitizer!

I couldn’t believe how sick they were all over the place and I hoped I wouldn’t be in their shoes. It just seemed irresponsible to come for a lesson or take an exam when one was sick. Thank goodness I had at least one cow flu a few months before! Could it be that the vaccine had protected me from any infection circulating in Italy? Of course, it wasn’t the dreaded Corona Virus – it must have been the cold mixed with the flu. This did not stop me from suggesting that we take protective measures.

I asked everyone why we did not encourage the sick to stay at home. However, I knew that management didn’t care what I thought because I was a foreigner visiting a nation that had a wave of xenophobia going on. I had previously written e-mails in which I gave advice on how educators should meet with management to invent collaborative teaching strategies. Of course, people who weren’t interested in teamwork snubbed my ideas. I took the possibility of getting sick seriously, so I couldn’t just let this go. I wrote to the management: “Why don’t we ask people to stay at home or let them cancel a lesson if they have the flu or a similar illness?” To this email, I have not received a reply.

Shortly after, around February 21, 2020, I heard about rampant diseases in the Lombardy region. Milan was only a thirty minute train ride away. Many people traveled back and forth to Milan every day. I suspected that many people were carrying the Corona virus, and for all I knew, I could be exposed to it. For about three days, I felt tired muscles. Although I usually went to sleep after midnight, I was tired for three days, succumbing to sleep at 10 pm At this point, I am not so confident that I have been attacked by the virus; it is more likely that I did not have it.

The number of cases was increasing. According to the news, the conditions in the Lombardy Region were moving in our direction. I should stop taking the train. Although officials had put emergency plans into action to eradicate swine flu in 2009, this time, officials did not seem to act quickly enough. Some Italian virologists have downplayed the importance of the Corona Virus. The Chinese seem to have got it under control. Some Europeans and Russians said it was not a danger to young people, and President Trump said it was some sort of hoax. Hospitals reported that people over 65 died. At that point, there were not enough supplies; I heard that doctors had to make life and death decisions, giving preference to those with fewer pre-existing conditions.

It looked like a wave rapidly sweeping across the globe. Several, but not all, politicians continued to downplay the threat. I understand that they are trying to save their economies. I asked what was happening in Russia because it gave the impression that the Russian people, in particular, were not preparing for the wave of Corona that would eventually occur. The same goes for the Americans who joked about their arrival. In Germany, a few people had Corona parties to celebrate. It wasn’t long before I heard about hammering New York City. How will such a metropolitan cope with such a colossal scale, with imminent job losses and the need to go into quarantine? With so many workers at home, the economy could plunge into chaos!

Half of the people in the globe are now hiding from the horrible Corona Virus, which has hit people of all ages and backgrounds, without discrimination between rich and poor (April 2, 2020). I am sorry to see my imagination turn into reality and I hope this monstrous virus will dissipate soon. If lessons are learned, they could be to learn from literature (both fiction and non-fiction), to be well prepared, and to help others. There will undoubtedly be a need for collaboration to defeat this pandemic.

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