Coping, Camaraderie, and Human Evolution Amid the Coronavirus Crisis

Robin Wright in The New Yorker:

Across the globe, a coronavirus culture is emerging, spontaneously and creatively, to deal with public fear, restrictions on daily life, and the tedious isolation of quarantine. “This is a bad science-fiction movie that is real,” Agustín Fuentes, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Notre Dame, told me, in a late-night discussion this week, about how covid-19 may alter the human journey. He envisions a profound evolutionary process to insure the survival of the species as pandemics become more common. It’s already visible.

…In these early days of the global pandemic, human creativity has centered largely on simple forms of relief and release. In China, the epicenter of the covid-19 outbreak and a nation where almost eight hundred million people have experienced some form of lockdown, night clubs that were forced to shut their doors have turned to virtual “cloud clubbing.” Viewers can watch d.j. sets on streaming platforms and send in messages to be read live, to create the illusion that they are connected. The new reality show “Home Karaoke Station” features famous singers taking requests, engaging with viewers, and performing—from self-quarantine in their own homes. Shuttered gyms have offered workout classes online or via the popular WeChat social-messaging app. Other Chinese people on WeChat created a group looking for love under lockdown. In one of the twenty-plus mass-quarantine centers in Wuhan, the megacity where this coronavirus first emerged, women have turned to karaoke to lift the spirits of sequestered groups. At night, echoes of “Wuhan Jiayou”—or “Stay Strong Wuhan”—have been heard as Chinese shout encouragement at each other from their windows.

In Iran, another of the covid-19 “red zones,” doctors and nurses—individually and in groups—have participated in a coronavirus dance challenge, posting videos of themselves dancing to lively music in hazmat suits.

More here.