The New Degrees of Separation


Marcelo Montecinos/The Santiago Times Staff

Covid-19 has separated the world, friends and family members, and now communities in its spread. The separation process has almost reached hysterical levels.

“We have to maintain the Chinese Wall with Santiago,” Valparaiso mayor Jorge Martínez said on Tuesday.

Valparaiso has become the second most-infected zone in the last 24 hours, Santiago being number 1. This has made the city adamant about asking for a total quarantine of the area.

The head of National Defense of Valparaíso, Yerko Marcic, pointed out that “31,270 people, 463 buses and 15,663 cars were checked for travelling permits in the last 24 hours: Of these, 210 were offenders of the total Santiago lock-down; 13,104 vehicles entered Valparaiso yesterday while 15,560 left the region afterwards.”

With such large movements of people over a long weekend, it is more than clear that Santiaguinos are not abiding by the travel restrictions imposed upon them, putting into danger those law-abiding citizens that legitimately live in Valparaiso as a result.

This lack of empathy by Chile’s most populated city has resulted in the inhabitants of Valparaiso abhorring and resenting Santiago residents who are out to get some rest, peace, sunshine and sea in their neighboring region.

These new degrees of separation have imploded from international to national, to regional and city borders, as well as to family borders, where people have had to be separated from each other in order to contain the spread of this almost apocalyptic virus.

The “new normal” has many obstacles to overcome. The world has had way too many reasons to separate us in the past; from religion to skin color to politics to income levels. Hopefully this new flu will unite us as humans, and not separate us in the future.

After all, it is the only threat human world-inhabitants have in common now. We are all brothers on this magnificent earth. Perhaps nature is telling us that we are no longer welcomed here.

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