By Yao. When recollecting the beginning of this year, everything seemed promising as the starting point of a new decade. But as news of the Coronavirus in China began to dominate the social media and my family was telling me that it was starting to spread over the whole country, I couldn’t do anything but wait anxiously for updates in the news every day. When the virus slowed down in China, the outbreak in the US was just starting. Everything was reversed then. My family checked every day whether I was fine. “Don’t go out, stay at home” became their new and most frequent expression.

At the same time, a battle was unfolding in the cyber world over who of the two countries was to blame for the spread of the virus. Arguments ensued over whether Americans should be under quarantine or not. As the number of infections ramped up, stay-at-home instructions were enforced one state after another until everyone was affected.

The more I see, the more I realize how fragile our world is. Every small link matters, not just for human beings. Wild animals in Africa have been placed in severe jeopardy since poaching has become more prevalent than ever there. A tragic situation threatened to develop in Germany where a zoo was preparing a list of animals that might be slaughtered in order to feed other animals during the lockdown.

This global pandemic may provide a window to problems we usually cannot see and bring about permanent changes in our lives.

I recently read a passage from E. B. White which gives me comfort these days. He wrote: “Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time, waiting to sprout when conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.”