The corona crisis is my second personal confrontation with an epidemic. My first was many years ago, long before GrondTaal Translations was even thought of. I was still a graduate student at the State University of New York at Binghamton, USA. When two students were diagnosed with the measles, the university administration responded immediately. The campus was completely shut down, and a strict quarantine was imposed. No-one was allowed to enter or leave without showing some proof that they were immune.
There are two ways to build up immunity: vaccination, or contracting (and surviving) the disease. I had had the measles as a child. But the only ‘evidence’ I could present was a faded photo of my 5-year-old self, feverish and red-faced. That didn’t cut it.
And so I joined the long queue outside the West Gym, where a nurse with a no-nonsense air jabbed me in the arm. Once the entire campus population from freshmen to the Dean himself had received their mandatory shots, all restrictions were lifted. The quarantine only lasted a few days, the epidemic was effectively contained, and no-one died. Yet even after all these years I can still remember the tense mood and the eerie silence on the usually buzzing campus. How long will this corona year be remembered?