The temptation for journalists and politicians alike to characterize COVID-19 in terms of national conflict seems almost irresistible.
For everybody else, living with the practical challenges of arranging home-schooling around home-working, anxiety for loved ones, financial worries and the rest, this kind of escalation in rhetoric is far from helpful.
Of course, there is no comparison between what is happening now and the scale of bloodshed and suffering during an armed conflict. But on an individual level, the loss of life is felt just as deeply, the fear is just as acute, and the sense of dislocation and uncertainty about the future, global in scale and unprecedented in most of our lifetimes, reaches in vain for its analogue outside of war.
This is perhaps why, despite the challenges, many people are welcoming a new sense of community and connection with their neighbors.
There is an understandable appetite among many for “things to get back to normal,” but it’s worth remembering that there was much about what used to be “normal” that we shouldn’t be too eager to welcome back.