The New Abnormal: Life in Greece in the Year 1 A.C.

May 10, 2020

The COVID-19 Coronavirus wasn't the Plague of Athens, which entered the city through the port of Piraeus and killed an estimated 75,000 to 100,00 in the second year of the Peloponnesian War that began in 430 B.C. but it felt like it in the fear it brought.

As of May 6, a day after no deaths were reported, the toll was at 146 in a country of 11 million people, held down after Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis imposed a quick lockdown on the advice of scientists and doctors.

That was unlike the Mad Man U.S. President who used the crisis to hold daily vaudeville shows proclaiming he didn't need to listen to no stinkin' doctors because his gut told him what to do, which shows what too many Big Macs will do.

The world will look back at 2020 – hindsight is always 2020 – as a time of medical peril, and history will record what Greece did with praise while burying President Hump, if he's remembered at all except as a cruel clown.

Because that's the year when time changed. In Greece, 2020 ended May 4, when the lockdown that kept people at home except for critical missions like supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors, began being lifted slowly.

That's when the clock struck 1 A.C.

After that, COVID-19 will have a different feel although the pandemic's effect will go on until Dec. 9, when it should end, said a study by students of the Data Innovation Club, at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Because in Greece, all lives matter and the only numbers in terms of deaths and cases that Mitsotakis wanted was zero, and he was willing to do whatever it took, at any political cost, to make it happen.

Americans were left to the likes of a heartless President who suggested he didn't really care how many people died as long as he could get the economy going again in a bid to be re-elected, an attitude his zealot lemmings love and mimic.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris ‘Bridgegate’ Christie, such a lowlife that even President Hump didn't want him, said, “if we leave this purely up to the physicians and the epidemiologists, we'll be locked in our houses for another year.”

He added, in typical Trumpie fashion: “There are going to be deaths,” which he said was a fair sacrifice to get the economy going again so let's ask if he'd like to be one of them to set a good example.

Most anyone who's lost a loved one or suffered themselves would, of course, reject the idea that any death helps the cause and those who spout it aren't willing to be among them. But just maybe that attitude won't prevail in the new calendar.

There's a saying in Greek that all obstacles are for good and if anything good can come out of a pandemic that tragically took lives let's hope against hope that in Greece it will bring a sense of solidarity and could even shake the greedy oligarchs and shipping tycoons to put money into renovating public hospitals that have World-class doctors and Third World equipment, or lack thereof, a situation so bad they don't have soap or toilet seats.

What saved Greece was those doctors and nurses and health care workers and the quarantine that kept people from going to hospitals where there were 592 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds, or the death count would have been staggering.

In socialist Sweden, with top-flight hospitals and a premium medical system, there were 20 times more deaths, partly because there was no lockdown and the government believed in herd immunity while the Trumpies prefer herd impunity for their criminal acts.

So life in Greece had a different look and feel as 1 A.C. began. People came out of their homes cautiously at first, weaving in and out on the streets trying to stay the social distance of 1.5 meters 5 feet) apart, many wearing masks and gloves and taking steps so gingerly they seemed like toddlers on their first legs after being let out of home.

There was a giant exhalation of cautious relief they could be in the Spring sun as the days warmed and pronounced declarations to appreciate every day and not take life for granted anymore because COVID-19 is still lurking and likely to return.

Some people will choose a kinder and gentler way of life, put down cell phones to look at each other in the eyes, actually talk instead of text, savor every breath, take children to the park, love their partners in a deeper way, knowing they'll be parted one day.

Thucydides wrote of the Plague of Athens but so too did Lucretius, the Roman poet and philosopher born 366 years later, ending his incomparable treatise The Nature of Things with passages about what that brought, and which we hope will never return.

“For at this hour the worship and the awe of gods had lost most of their power. The present grief was overwhelming.” People, he said, “would shed much blood in the struggle rather than desert their dead.”

So let us not forget it so that a new plague won't descend on our souls, at least, because unless you're like Christie, you don't want to accept that there will be any deaths.


I’ve been issuing presidential report cards in this space since January, 2010: the conclusion of Barack Obama’s first year in office.

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