Sat 23 January 2021

Conrad Egbert provides his insights on dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak from Copenhagen.

Share this article

The street outside my window is ominously quiet. No tall Danes cycling past, no Teslas eerily gliding out of the underground parking lot and no mums hauling their tots off to school; just a pretty blonde who jogs past.

Perhaps the biggest anomaly from my sunny morning window is the absence of the 500 metre long taxi queue that feeds the Oslo ferry terminal next door. The air is diesel-free and almost too much for my lungs to take. I look at the back of my hands. My knuckles are chapped and ugly. When you wash your hands several times a day, you tend to let things slide.

I miss mindlessly digging into a bowl of peanuts at a pub with friends, the intimacy of holding hands in public, shopping without gloves. I miss the normal things.

Part of me wants this Coronavirus madness to be over, but then a dark part of me relishes the deafening peace and tense lacking that abounds. I’m glad there are no cruise-liners, no rush hour and no drunken weekend pub brawls. Have we brought this upon ourselves? Are we to blame? And, more importantly, are we going to let those cruel wet markets carry on, continue electing unworthy politicians who put their careers ahead of lives, and keep on drilling through the Arctic until there’s nothing left of us?

COVID-19 has shown us we’re not in control. It’s man against the Earth and she’s stronger. She’s purging and we are the natural selection.

Even though Denmark is officially on lockdown and its borders closed, the Government hasn’t yet imposed any curfew. The police, though, have sent out text messages with a warning to ‘maintain social distancing’. According to DR News, Danish authorities are also looking to tap into people’s locations via their phones in order to know if they’re following the rules. Is it wrong? If people listened and followed the rules would this be necessary?

Earlier this month, Queen Margrethe appeared on Danish TV sets asking people to take up social distancing and stay home. In response, we cancelled several dinners and now only step out to buy weekly groceries. Our neighbourhood supermarket hasn’t yet seen any toilet paper tussles or apocalyptic empty shelves. We haven’t stocked up, partly from conscience and partly out of being embarrassed to do so. But, that could change. It’s been four weeks since we began staying home and distancing ourselves.

The little things are not little now. And when this is all over, I doubt I’ll take them for granted again. We must learn and we must evolve.

Thank youfor reading this article

New to Byline Times? Find out about us

Our leading investigations include Russian Interference, Coronavirus, Cronyism and Far Right Radicalisation. We also introduce new voices of colour in Our Lives Matter.

Support our journalists

To have an impact, our investigations need an audience.

But emails don’t pay our journalists, and nor do billionaires or intrusive ads. We’re funded by readers’ subscription fees:

Or donate to our seasonal crowdfunder to hire an additional journalist to conduct more investigations.

More stories filed under The Coronavirus Crisis

More stories filed under Culture