By Regina Cano
HAVANA TIMES – Word on Havana’s streets is that as temperatures increase, the Coronavirus won’t be able to infect us: “It won’t get us…” I’ve heard people say.
So, most people aren’t feeling the pressure of “la Pelona” (The Grim Reaper) on their heels yet with this highly infectious virus.
There’s a general climate of “That has nothing to do with me”, which has more to do with the need of getting on with life, of survival. That’s to say, danger is lurking in our personal lives, in our neighborhood and family, but we still haven’t realized that it is closer than it seems or the official media hopes it is.
People are walking down Havana’s streets, getting on jam-packed buses and there are only a couple of people who are wearing some form of protection such as a mask or covering their faces with a handkerchief.
You hear people constantly talking about how Coronavirus is spreading in Italy, about how dangerous it is or that they have heard from their relatives in Spain that people aren’t allowed out on the street because of fear of infection. “Streets are deserted,” they are told, or somebody who was in the UK comes back or someone comes to Cuba from Austria looking for shelter.
However, the dynamics here are different and people are forced to take to the street and carry on with their day-to-day business.
In the meantime, institutions are canceling events that imply large groups of people: Festivals, debates, conferences, etc. People are disagreeing more and more with the news that a cruise ship will arrive with infected Britons, which the Cuban government accepted and has decided to help them reach their country by flying them out, from the Airport in the capital.
After national TV announced this news, people are wondering whether it makes any sense. “If other countries didn’t let them in, how can we when we don’t even have regular supplies of basic goods?” “How and where will they take them so they can leave? Will they cross the city (or a town)? These are the questions and comments you can hear on the capital’s streets.
If Cuba has to stop manufacturing and commercializing goods, like other countries have, what will we do “if we have to go out every day in search of food?”, a friend asked me over the phone.
It just so happens that now, Cuba has suddenly become the best and safest tourist destination. It’s like telling the rest of the world: “Here it’s sun and beaches and if things in the world are bad, come here and live like me, I don’t have anything but I have everything,” David D’Omni said, as coming here and spending quarantine with us is the best thing that could happen.
If it’s within our social pact to be as affectionate as the Italians or Spanish, what new social regulation will stop us from being at great risk of infection from our friends and close colleagues?
Is it a matter of the Cuban people, right up to the highest political circles in the country, being afraid if looking silly wearing a mask, or having fingers pointed at us because we lose the label of good Samaritans?
Come on people, let’s get our act together. Lots of us can die!