A country paralysed

It is hard to know where to start. This is my umpteenth attempt to write something about the coronavirus outbreak in Switzerland. Every version so far has more or less been out of date as soon as I typed the last word. First, I described the spectre of COVID-19 in Italy. Second, the angst surrounding the first coronavirus cases in Ticino. I then tried to write something about the impact on sporting and cultural events. In my fourth draft, I said the worst was probably yet to come. I also considered the implications: the government’s emergency powers, the upending of democratic processes, the shutting of schools, the ban on gatherings, the closure of non-essential businesses. Even these aspects seemed to have been overtaken by events by the following day. Meanwhile, infections and deaths were rising fast. So was the number of people suddenly out of work.

This is anything but a new and difficult kind of normality. How can it be normal when we are constantly facing new, arduous and unprecedented challenges? Certainly, things will have changed again by the time you read this magazine. Perhaps my hope (while writing this at the end of March) that the crisis could be over by the end of May has turned out to be true. Or maybe I am completely wrong and Switzerland’s shutdown has had even graver consequences.

We should not overlook the positive aspects: in Switzerland many people are showing kindness and consideration to others during this crisis. It starts with helping older people who are at risk. This is important to consider, because everyone’s fortitude is being tested. The surreal fact of the matter is that, although we are all in this together, we are also alone. The poorest, the weakest and the most vulnerable members of society have never felt so isolated, and this at the very time when they need all the human love and warmth they can get. Essentially, we are all social beings. They as much as anyone else.

Yet there are still reasons to be cheerful. One of these is Stephan Eicher, who recently won the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Swiss Music Awards in recognition of his 40-year career in music. Reason enough for us to pay tribute to this magnificent musician and his body of work.

We are also looking forward to getting to know you, our readers, a little bit better: “Swiss Review” is conducting a reader survey, and we would love you to tell us what you think about our magazine – both good and bad. Your feedback is important to us.

Marc Lettau, editor-in-chief

Comments (3)
  • Peter Schwerzmann, Pattaya, Thailand
    Peter Schwerzmann, Pattaya, Thailand at 27.05.2020
    Wenn Sie das Ozonloch, das Waldsterben, die Hühnergrippe und die Schweinepest überlebt haben, gehören Sie zu denen, die auch Corona überleben werden. Das Sterben der kranken Weltwirtschaft wird seit Jahrzehnten vorhergesagt. Diesen System des ewigen Wachstums konnte keinen dauerhaften Bestand haben, es musste kollabieren! Eine Pandemie, die natürlich vollkommen zufällig ausgebrochen ist, wird jetzt die Schuld gegeben, jetzt werden die bisher geltenden Rechte ausser Kraft gesetzt!
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  • Aminatulhuda Dingle Shaver, Largs , Scotland
    Aminatulhuda Dingle Shaver, Largs , Scotland at 28.05.2020
    It is in the evolution of our minds and of what we do that any event can be seen. And to then make the adjustments that every society need to make no matter where and no matter when...we are human and therefore not perfect...most of us strive to make a better world around us, many make mistakes...the Earth and Nature itself is self reliant and a teacher...so lets just sit for a moment and listen to the lessons...then go home and do our 'home work' each of us can make a difference.
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    • Stephen Page, Altdorf, UR, residing in Alaska/California
      Stephen Page, Altdorf, UR, residing in Alaska/California at 28.06.2020
      We are all truly individual parts of one system where viruses can hop aboard anyone and travel wherever we go, sometimes even fly in the wind. Until there is a vaccine, we each need to stay socially distant and protect each other, because by protecting each other we protect ourselves too. While we each do our duty to defend one another, we as a nation have a timely responsibility to lead the creation of an Intelligent Health Defense System by cooperating, collaborating, and consorting with other nation-state subsystems. By doing so we will maintain our role as the epicenter of and interdependent club of interconnected humans who are truly in this situation together.
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