[REVIEW] In the Year of the Virus

In the Year of the Virus by Felix Cheong

In the Year of the Virus is an innovative poetry comic book inspired by the Covid-19 pandemic. The story revolves around several characters affected — and infected —- by the viral outbreak. The poetry by award-winning writer Felix Cheong, adapted beautifully by artist Eko, examines our humanity as our lives are upended and ended. This is a ground-breaking work that marries text with artwork and aptly captures the wild swings of emotion we all felt after the pandemic hit and the lockdown began.

In the present day, we face a common problem that is not expected. we would assume every day would be a repetition of the previous day. we were blinded by the enemy lurking and waiting to emerge by our own mistake. A pandemic is not new in human history. But what makes the COVID-19 pandemic special is that it takes place in an unprecedented backdrop when the interconnectivity and interdependence between people, between countries, and between continents are so deep. The achievements people have made in technology, intelligence, and transportation make them both physically and psychologically globalized.

The consequence is that problems in one country will become global ones. Long ago we raised warnings, and we cannot underestimate the danger of multinational threats, from terrorism to cybercrimes. We all have been affected by the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, the impact of the pandemic and its consequences are felt differently depending on our status as individuals and as members of society. While some try to adapt to working online, homeschooling their children and ordering food via Instacart, others have no choice but to be exposed to the virus while keeping society functioning. Our different social identities and the social groups we belong to determine our inclusion within society and, by extension, our vulnerability to epidemics.

COVID-19 is killing people on a large scale. As of October 10, 2020, more than 7.7 million people across every state in the United States and its four territories had tested positive for COVID-19. According to the New York Times database, at least 213,876 people with the virus have died in the United States. However, these alarming numbers give us only half of the picture; a closer look at data by different social identities (such as class, gender, age, race, and medical history) shows that minorities have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic. These minorities in the United States are not having their right to health fulfilled.
The pandemic has been affecting the entire food system and has laid bare its fragility. Border closures, trade restrictions and confinement measures have been preventing farmers from accessing markets, including for buying inputs and selling their produce, and agricultural workers from harvesting crops, thus disrupting domestic and international food supply chains and reducing access to healthy, safe and diverse diets. The pandemic has decimated jobs and placed millions of livelihoods at risk. As breadwinners lose jobs, fall ill and die, the food security and nutrition of millions of women and men are under threat, with those in low-income countries, particularly the most marginalized populations, which include small-scale farmers and indigenous peoples, being hardest hit.
In the COVID-19 crisis food security, public health, and employment and labour issues, in particular workers’ health and safety, converge. Adhering to workplace safety and health practices and ensuring access to decent work and the protection of labour rights in all industries will be crucial in addressing the human dimension of the crisis. Immediate and purposeful action to save lives and livelihoods should include extending social protection towards universal health coverage and income support for those most affected. These include workers in the informal economy and in poorly protected and low-paid jobs, including youth, older workers, and migrants. Particular attention must be paid to the situation of women, who are over-represented in low-paid jobs and care roles. Different forms of support are key, including cash transfers, child allowances and healthy school meals, shelter and food relief initiatives, support for employment retention and recovery, and financial relief for businesses, including micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. In designing and implementing such measures it is essential that governments work closely with employers and workers.
It is surprising where a 50-page book can explain how the pandemic is and was. This book explains how individuals of various ages face the pandemic. Undeniably
this virus has affected everyone from every corner of the world. The book shows a glimpse of what people did during the quarantine. However, some were unlucky and had contracted the virus. To the young patient, this was not a big worry as the survivability rate was higher and study shows that their immune system can adapt to the situation. On the other hand, The elderly had a lower survivability rate as most elders had already had pre-existing health conditions, which led to a higher death toll.