18 Nov Rhodes and COVID-19
Rhodes and COVID-19
Pandemics in History
The current COVID-19 outbreak will go down in modern history as the worst pandemic of our time, hopefully. However bad it seems now, and certainly every life lost is a tragedy, it compares favourably with previous pandemics. For example, during the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic, 500 million people, 33% of the world’s population, became infected with the virus. The recorded number of deaths was at least 50 million worldwide. To date (18 November 2020), there have been just under 56,000,000 cases, that is, 0.75% of the world’s population. 1,338,088 people have died, less than 0.02% of today’s 7,826,000,000 population. This article looks at Rhodes and COVID-19’s effect on it.
Effects on Local Society
While we should be grateful for small mercies, the effects of the current pandemic are still felt, both socially and economically. For example, small children who learn to interact socially, are now excluded from contact with their peers, as schools around the globe are closed.
Today I want to focus on Rhodes town during the lockdown. In normal times, from April till late October, it is a thriving centre of commerce and tourism, with people coming on planes, boats and on cruise ships for guaranteed sunshine and the wonders of the medieval old town.
However, even in winter, there is normally life in the city. Unlike some islands that people vacate in the winter, Rhodes has the regional government of the Dodecanese based on it, plus a university which brings students to the island. However, as all lectures and seminars are online, the students have not returned this autumn. Public transport is floundering, flats remain vacant and, when we could go out, bars and restaurants are empty. Only supermarkets and fast-food delivery business remain unaffected.
Rhodes is one of the safest places in Greece, with comparatively few cases. Yet it has the same impositions as the rest of the country. The regional lockdown policy needed more of a chance. Instead the government imposed panic blanket measures.