A Capital without People’s Shadows

There are almost no shadows of anyone. Due to the spread of the new coronavirus, a state of emergency has been declared in the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. Non-essential businesses were closed by order of the mayor, and gatherings of more than 10 people are forbidden. The order is strict. People who violate the rules face prison sentences and similar punishment.

The subway is also operating under curtailed service, and stations near major governmental institutions and hospitals are closed. Inside the cars, I only see people who appear homeless with nowhere to go. Subconsciously, I am prepared for the moment when my phone will buzz warning me not to go out except to make essential or emergency trips. The restrictions do not cover news reporting, but I am anxious.

I have suddenly remembered when I lived in Boston and the terrorist suspect who attacked the Boston Marathon was on the loose and residents were ordered to shelter in place until he was caught. The reaction of the American people, who are panic buying, firmly locking their doors and staying inside, is more nervous now than it was in Boston.

I have to come to admire how flexible Americans are in responding to crises, even at the expense of changing their daily lives, but how will they get through this unprecedented situation? I’ll be observing the state of American emergency management.

The cherry blossoms along the Potomac River, which are at their peak now, will have to be set aside. I want a chance to leisurely admire them when they return next year.

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