Mira Kinn

COVID-19 And the Discussion it Brings

Apparently there are differences in the preferences country-wise of “hamstering”, a verb that has become most prominent these days, describing the built-up stock of commodities, food, and beverages. Rumour has it, that France is now short on condoms and wine for example, whereas in Germany it is definitely pasta and…wait for it…toilet paper. I am not sure what this tells about the different mentalities but let it be open to imagination.

Story by Mira Kinn
Germany, Western Europe
Published on April 8, 2020

Reading time: 4 minutes

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2020- the year of the rat in the Chinese zodiac, and ironically, like its real-life pendant, it will be associated with transmitting disease: COVID-19. Slowly, and silently it was perceived in Europe as something from the East, underestimating our new ever-dense global network, until it exploded with a big bang. This virus did not just illustrate our global interdependence but detected the local injustices globally as well, like an intensifier:

The luxury to even work from home or being isolated, as it is only possible for some privileged groups, the outsourcing of production of many goods, like the currently, most valuable masques which became a rare commodity and are even stolen from hospitals, as well as in some countries to even have health insurance at all. Most and foremost the emergence of the word “systemrelevant”* describing jobs that are suddenly recognized as absolute necessity to help maintain our society, such as nurses and cashiers, but until the outbreak have not had much respect in terms of societal appreciation and simply the paycheck.

Voices become louder of a transformation of the health system, even here in Germany where the death toll (1.017) is “relatively low” in comparison to the numbers of infected people (79.696) on April 4th and countries like Spain (10.003) and Italy (14.681). In any case, shocking numbers for a virus, a killer that seems to have emerged from nowhere, an until then unknown threat.

Here, in North-Rhine Westphalia (one of the federal states in Germany), there is no complete lockdown ordered by the government (yes, there are different rules for the municipalities on how to handle COVID-19, which doesn’t make it less confusing), but rather a contact lock for more than two people – luckily for the sanity of people it seems, that are struggling so much in isolation, after all, humans are social animals, aren’t we? Whereas others are privileged to become creative with digital possibilities like “Netflix Party”, virtual house parties or readings, etc. Options I use a lot, to still feel connected somehow. 

It seems to me, that people are confronted with their biggest fears by this virus, the most existential ones: next to death, and loneliness, to have enough in stock to eat.

Apparently there are differences in the preferences country-wise of “hamstering”, a verb that has become most prominent these days, describing the built-up stock of commodities, food, and beverages. Rumour has it, that France is now short on condoms and wine for example, whereas in Germany it is definitely pasta and…wait for it…toilet paper. I am not sure what this tells about the different mentalities but let it be open to imagination.

I have seen a TV report showing how a bakery changed from wedding cakes to toilet-paper-cakes, a joke at first, it became a big hit. These kind of topics seem to have emerged in everyday small-talk: “How do you deal with corona, what is your stance on it?”.

Things after the virus won’t be the same anymore that is for sure. Some argue and fear that emergency measurements like “geo-tracking” will be implemented and might stay even after. Others hope for “positive reforms” in the health sector, lasting possibilities for home office or the trial of a basic income guarantee. As an optimist, I would hope that this crisis could open new doors of collaboration between nations and new windows of thinking afresh about the future.


*In Engl.: System relevant, Dutch: Vitaal, Norwegian: Samfuunskritisk, Spanish: Relevante para el systema, French: Pertinent pour le système etc.


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Mira Kinn

Mira Kinn

Hey there, I am Mira!

Originally from a small village in the South-West of Germany, off to learning and dealing with global challenges. This brought me to ever more confusions and questions on life, loaded with the perks of traveling and connecting with and between people! Truth be told, it is stories that connect people and the connection of people that make good stories. In a nutshell, the realm of fluid identities, and the words of a Brasilian friend: I am "a German mind with a Chilean heart", that loves to sing and write, while there is always time for a good portion of dark humor. 

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