Does the virus know that it has become old news? And what will it do about it – bow its head in submission or stage a grand comeback?
"Things are getting back to normal". Dare we think it? Dare we say it? Well, if you're wondering this, you are one of the few people still wondering.
If you take a look outside, you will see everything is pretty much back to normal. There is traffic in the streets again. The restaurants are open for business with food being served to hungry or selfie-taking customers.
Hatirjheel is packed with couples, groups of friends, and there are the ever-present aspiring models climbing up on the railings or wherever they can to pose for a photo with their sunglasses and "bhaab" faces on, just hoping to get a good photo for their Facebook profiles.
And, more often than not, about 70 to 80 percent of these people are not wearing masks. Most of the people who do deign to wear the masks wear them in different styles – around their necks, under their noses, or dangling off one ear; "ingenious" ways to not protect the parts that actually need the protection.
Let's face it. Covid-19 has become old news. People are tired of it. They want something new. They want their old lives back.
I can't really say I blame them to be honest. Cooped up in the house for months without respite, with only work and TV bringing something different to life, it's not exactly the best way to live. It's causing serious problems. Many people are going into depression, and depression is no joke, especially if left untreated.
To counter this monotony, lots of people, those who are still sticking with "stay home, stay safe" motto that is, are going out for drives to just see the outside again.
I had been afraid to let my parents and parents-in-laws even go to the roof. Now, however, even I am becoming lax in my vigilance. My mother caught me washing groceries without wearing gloves the other day. I was shocked at my forgetfulness myself, as I had been the "marshal", constantly making sure everyone wore protective gear when required until that point.
I think the normalcy of the people outside is getting to me and making Covid-19 seem less serious, which is probably not a good thing. We still get daily news of people getting infected or perishing from the disease, but somehow, the fear that had gripped the world just a short while ago, seems to be ebbing.
The world is ready to move on. My brother was saying just yesterday, that when we see the people outside going about their lives completely normally, we feel like over-cautious and terrified weirdos. But isn't that how it should be? Shouldn't caution still reign? Shouldn't people continue social distancing?
My husband and I went to a well-known restaurant yesterday to pick up some food for the family. We had expected to find the place empty, but it was not. It was bustling with the young generation, possibly clad in their Eid clothes, out celebrating with their friends.
Seeing such a crowd and the lack of masks in these customers, my husband and I chose to wait outside. We were at least reassured that the restaurant staff had appropriate masks and gloves on.
While we waited, one of the girls rushed outside talking on the phone. I happened to overhear a few words as she passed by – "Ma, I am still in the office…." That, I think, says it all.
Meanwhile, in some or most of the houses of those who have strictly stayed home, tensions and frustrations are running somewhat high. In the beginning of all this, it was nice to stay home and spend all your time with loved ones. Bosses were somewhat understanding, that in all this crisis and instability, it is difficult to get a lot of work done.
This was fine the first couple of months. Then, time started to drag. People got less understanding and more frustrated with the entire situation. People who were used to leaving the house everyday were now cooped up inside for months.
The same people who could spend hours talking to each other now had nothing new to discuss. The hobbies that people took up no longer seemed that enjoyable. The things that people disliked when they had been going out regularly now don't seem that bad, such as traffic.
Quarantine and isolation have become the new "hated" words, and the once "mundane" and "robotic" lives of waking up, going to work, coming back and sleeping, seem like the golden age.
Where just a few months ago people jumped onto any Covid-19 related news or any new information about the pandemic was spread like wildfire, these same people are now scrolling past Covid-related news.
Putin announcing the "readiness" of the vaccine after testing it on his daughter is actually not the main topic of discussion now. People are honestly tired of getting bad news, or at least Covid-related news.
They want something new, and most people want something fun or light-hearted. I took my parents to the park near our house a few days ago for a little walk, making sure they were protected in every possible way. They were hesitant to go at first as they had not been outside for a walk since late February.
My parents, who had been feeling a little off recently, suddenly became the energetic ones and I was the one struggling to keep up with them. The change in them, just due to some fresh air, amazed me. The same thing happened when my husband and I took my parents-in-laws out for a drive and spent some time in the park in the fresh air. Has the 'new normal' already become old?
We humans tend to become bored with everything after a while. People are now considering Covid-19 to be "old news". The questions that now remain are: does the virus know that it has become old news? And what will it do about it – bow its head in submission or stage a grand comeback?
The author is a senior analyst