How the new coronavirus and Covid-19, the illness it causes, are reshaping social habits and life.
Perugia (Italy), March 2020
Italian cities, towns, villages, all look unreal, almost completely empty of people with the exception of those obliged and/or authorized to go out: a scenario we all considered unimaginable; the opposite of what is occurring inside hospitals, the overcrowded restless front line of this silent war against an invisible enemy. This seemingly unreal reality is now shared with many countries at an international level, and their number increases every day as the pandemic spreads throughout the world. We’re sadly getting accustomed to the daily updating of the map of the disease, showing us how further our planet has shrinked.
The strategy currently adopted by Governments against the spread of coronavirus and Covid-19 is SOCIAL DISTANCING, as yet the only known form of prevention.
According to Lisa Maragakis (Senior Director of Infection Prevention at the Johns Hopkins and Associate Professor of Medicine), “Social distancing consists in deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Staying at least six feet away from other people lessens your chances of catching Covid-19” (Source: hopkinsmedicine.org).
As a consequence, “ ‘the rate of change in human behavioral rituals is accelerating’, according to Sheryl Hamilton of Carleton University in Ottawa. In her joint research with anthropologist Neil Gerlach, Hamilton argues that we’re now living in an era of heightened disease awareness she calls ‘pandemic culture’ " (Source: Wired).
The proxemic bubble, the amount of personal space we keep around ourselves according to proxemics (the branch of knowledge that deals with the amount of space that people feel it necessary to set between themselves and others) has been redefined and recalibrated. Only by keeping the newly set distance of 3-6 feet from the others, the infection will be contained.
The new personal proxemic bubble has turned into a personal shield.
Photographs and text by Claudia Ioan