It is May 1rst 2020. Holy Week is long gone gone up and I can't really think of stranger times than now to write this blog, even if its my birthday month.
A few months ago, I had many plans in my life that I wanted to fulfill by today if not a bit later. Those plans included getting myself new photo gear, which meant basically moving from a Canon 80 D system to a Canon 5 D full frame system. This was my dream that I was going to hopefully accomplish it back when the world seemed normal (2019). Oh, and one another plan was to fix my bathroom and turn it into a renewed piece of art I could feel proud of, and there where of course some planned trips I was doing to do this year, and so much more. Like usual, one makes up a plan and says I will do this, then I will do that, and things happen, and you are left to wonder where have all those plans gone.
You see, I am accustomed to live my life the way I want , to manage my schedules and to be my own boss. I was also getting bored with some off my photography and I shot and directed a very special promo for my mom's decorating firm here in Quito. Doing this I felt beautifull and fulfilled. Now I am self quarantined with my mom for a month, and it does look like the quarantine here in Quito is going to be stretched far longer because of the rapid and tragic growth of the COVID 19 Virus here in Ecuador.
Wanted or not, willing or not, because of this pandemic, my life came to a complete halt, for better or for worse, and it will dramatically change once we go back to our lives. Seclusion takes it's toll, mostly in the psychology of a person. I don't know if I would have done the confinement by myself even if I live a block away from my mother. I think I would have gone mental, literally speaking, MENTAL.
In normal circumstances, because I live by myself, I can handle mostly everything except cooking and house cleaning. I do like my house to be clean. As soon as I wake up I immediately make up my own bed, and in normal days I would have a small breakfast, wait for my trainer to come, train, have a bigger breakfast, shower and leave to my studio, and I will come back around 7 pm, make a salad, watch a movie and that's it. On a normal day, however, when the government of Ecuador announced a national lockdown starting this past march, along with ,many other extreme measures as the first case of COVID 19 was detected, I did not think too much about anything, I picked a few clothes, placed them in my bag, alongside a handful of F95 3M face masks, a toiletry , my iPad, some books, iPhone, I watch cables and their docks, and I called my housekeeper to come that day , do the cleaning, and afterwards I told her to go home and take care of herself and her family. Then I picked up my suitcase, a TUMMY bag full of my electronics, left the apartment, locked it and before saying goodbye to the guard I asked him if the administration provided them with alcohol and sanitary gel. His answer petrified me. I left the luggage and everything at the hall and walked towards the nearest pharmacy in my street (Gonzales Suarez). It's walking distance from where I live and I go in and the first thing I asked the teller was where are the hand sanitizers. She told me that there was a handful of bottles on one of the shelves, and as a matter of fact there was about 50 bottles.
I turned towards her and asked how many am I allowed to take, and her response was that I could take as many as I needed. I think I grabbed 9 bottles. Paid them whithout remembering the amount and I arrived at the hall of m y building and gave four bottles to the guards with the express instructions to use them and to force everyone walking into the building to use them. I was very empathic. They thanked me and I immediately called the administrator and argued with him that I did not understand why the guards did not had a sanitizing gel. I was furious. His response was that he couldn't find them anywhere and my response was that they had it in stock at the pharmacy left to us. So I waved at the guard, grabbed my stuff and told him to stay safe and left the building. I honestly have to say that this was a very sad moment for me. I was not only leaving my beloved apartment, my hub, my place that I love, to enter a time frame and quarantine that I did´t know how I was going to cope with it, how it was going to end , and I really had no expectations whatsoever in terms of what to expect of a situation that is still new to me and health wise a big risk. I felt as if I was an astronaut that for the first time I was going to enter the ISS and I was going to be isolated, for god knows how long and I just hoped that neither me, my mom or anyone in my family at that point was sick and asymptomatic from this unknown virus, which ¨started ¨in late December in a Chinese city called Wuhan, and was later called COVID 19.
Back in December of last year, we (as of all of us), started to hear of this new illness via news, social media videos, reports and so on. Some treated it as a new version of the SARS or Avian flue viruses, but from the beginning I think we all knew this was different. We started to learn that the virus had a corona shape, among very few things. But why are too many people getting sick and dying so quickly? Why did the Chinese government placed an entire city by January in total and full lockdown? This is supposed to be a 10 million people city in a country of 1.2 billion people or more. Why are the Chinese sealing people inside their apartment buildings so they won't go out? Why? Why did China, with all it's strength, was barely coping with staggering numbers of infected both in Wuhan and other provinces stretching its health system almost to a collapse? Why would they build a couple of hospitals in a record of two weeks just to treat COVID 19 patients? Where they scared of this becoming a pandemic ? Where they planning for it to become a pandemic, or where they trying to extinguish the fire in order for it not to be a big alarm all over the world capable off crashing markets etc? They knew this is not a common flu and that it was just starting to grow and eventually spill all over.
The origin of the virus is a mystery. There is a lot of theories about it. I don't believe it came out of a wild life market and I strongly believe this bug was bred in a lab. The Chinese knew about it's infectiousness, and they probably kept the real figures behind closets for reasons we don't know, and that we can only speculate. They probably knew it had several variations of the pathogen, but I think it's very important to know that the Chinese manipulate figures. They control the information that leaves China and they control every citizen in it's territory, so we know if they say 10, it's `probably 2. It's a basic fact, and, thanks to social media, stuff that was leaked out of china (hospital videos and so on), gave us all a glimpse of what was really happening in their hospitals and most important, what was going to arrive to us. We saw nurses crying, overworked, hospital staff dressed as if they were aliens, with their names on their back, treating hundredths of thousands of patients who most where likely going to die. The Chinese released official figures that indicated the death of 3000 plus people. Some media outlets investigate 40,000 deaths, while others go as high as 3 million people. There are far too many leaked stories of thousands of mortuaries cremating bodies all across China by then, and it was around February 2020 when me and my family where all starting to get concerned, while I was prepping a promo film that we eventually shot here Quito.
This was the time when I really started practicing social distancing, which includes no hand shaking, always carry a germ killing gel and constantly washing my hands. I was even scared to go to places filled with people because by this point we knew key things about the virus, like how it spreads (the infected person transmits particles of it through the mouth via the saliva by coughing, sneezing and even talking). We also knew that the virus can survive differently in various types of surfaces. Eight, ten to fourteen hours and even days, like in metal surfaces, and that the easiest way for the virus to spread in humans is by people touching surfaces with their hands where the virus has landed and touching their faces, mouths , noses and eyes. So I stopped touching anything and would use hand sanitizer and wash my hands whenever I could and dare not touch .my face. I started to cautiously going to malls and began seeing everyone as a threat. In the face of a threat, your psyche changes. Then we started to know that the period of incubation was 14 days or more, and that an infected person can spread the virus during this time even if the host has no symptoms. Think about everything one person can do in 14 days. They can go shopping, night clubbing, traveling and they are spreading the virus left and right. That got me even more scared because you can give it to your family, friends and co workers, or basically anyone around you without you even knowing you have it because you are not yet showing symptoms at all. And what really scared me the most is that before they said that this virus attacks more people who have pre existing conditions, babies and the elderly and anyone with a weak immune system, and not healthy people. In Italy, there are many hospitals where people below 50 are being intubated. So, no one is left aside. Bodies respond differently to diseases with a good immune or bad immune system. At the same time I started to watch apocalyptic films and movies about diseases to the the point that I was going crazy, as we were learning about the first cases in the USA, the devastation of the virus in Iran, Italy and Spain.
The question of when this bug was going to show up here in Ecuador became inevitable because viruses are friends of big crows, connectivity and massive transport systems. Every country on earth is connected. Infected people take buses, trains and airplanes. By late February we wrapped this short film in late February 2020 and that's when the shit hit the fan, with the confirmation of the first imported case of COVID 19 to Ecuador in Guayaquil with an elder woman coming from Spain among other non reported people. The Ecuadorian government formed an emergency task force aimed at protecting its borders from the bug, which basically consisted of health checkpoints at every airport, port and border crossing, and establishing epidemiological nets that where aimed at testing and identifying infected passengers, and everyone who they might have been in contact with, and place both the infected and people around them in obligatory quarantines of 15 days in non disclosed locations, but given the infectiousness of the virus it was already too late. The first reported case here in Quito came from an elderly dutch man who apparently flew in here and was in an amazon tour when the symptoms showed. He was immediately transferred to a non disclosed hospital in Quito, while the woman in Guayaquil was admitted to an undisclosed hospital in Guayaquil and died four days later. The virus came and is here to stay. If we look on a global scale there is no country this virus hasn't touched. There are confirmed cases of people in every country and continent except for Greenland and Antartica. We can clearly know how a virus of this kind can devastate a region, for instance the state of New York, the north of Italy, many provinces of china, the autonomous region of Madrid in Spain and here in South America, our Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil.
Watching news reports of the hospitals in Bergamo, Italy, Madrid, Spain and many other via news outlets is heartbreaking, but seeing the reports of the massive chaos that the virus was and is causing in our city Guayaquil is simply devastating. If there is all sorts of chaos in economically wealthy nations like Italy, Spain, China and the United States, just imagine what can happen in countries like ours. Watching all of this in lockdown makes me feel somehow safe, yet as I watch the city of Quito from the dining rooms window, I watch a city on hold, as much as how the world is, but I do feel the urge to leave the building and at least walk back and forth from it , either to go to my apt, the pharmacy or the deli. Just the fact that I am outside, still wearing a mask and gloves, but feeling the sun and the wind makes me feel that I am alive. I don't like constrainment, and I don't think anyone does really, but I am assuming that there is no choice right now. That it's either stay healthy by all means or getting infected , ending up in a hospital you don't know, with doctors that you can't see their faces, helping you all they can, and really be at the mercy of the lord, praying that your body's immune system can fight this battle, because if you don't, you will perish alone, your body will be sealed, cremated or most likely thrown to a pit in a mass grave yard. How tough is that?, and yet, when I'm on the street,, I still see people not wearing masks, or if they are, they are probably wearing the wrong kind of mask and covering only their mouths, not their nose and mouths, and you shake your head and say to yourself.... Dumb idiots. What else can you do? A few years ago, when I came out of the closet in the states in 1999 as I was entering college in Massachusetts, a gay man told me in regards to AIDS to always assume everyone I meet is HIV positive. In gay terms he told me that nobody knows except one self where one puts their penises onto, and where your ass has been, except for that person, and that lying about personal sexual and hygienic habits it's very easy. When I go to the street I assume the same. I know what my habits are, I know how I clean my mask and I know what to do once I enter my apartment, but I don't know the habits of others.
Now that I have more time to reflect on certain things (much more than before), I can say that I have lived thru a pandemic (HIV) and that I am in the curse of living another one (COVID 19), and though these two experiences are far ahead in their timing, I find many similarities between both experiences on a personal level. I was born in 1979, May 24th to be exact. 1979 was the year of the zenith of the sexual liberation in the world. Gays and Heterosexuals where having sex like there is not tomorrow, living a frantic life like ours now, and then, something happened.
In 1981, In San Francisco and New York City (both centers of this hedonistic crazy lifestyle), gay men were being interned in hospitals in weak conditions and most all of them had these leisures in their called karposi sarcomas. In December 2019 patients were filling up hospitals in the city of Wuhan, China, showing signs of a severe respiratory syndrome. In both cases, patients started dying like flies and medical staff were both amazed and overwhelmed about what these new diseases were doing to its patients.
In the case of AIDS, many men (mostly gay men), where turning out to hospital beds pale, very thin and very ill. Many would last a few days only. Healthworkers could only sedate them and watch them go. Most looked like living skeletons. Blood samples in many hospitals where taken, and they started to wonder why all these patients had no immune system. As more patients where filling up New York and San Francisco's hospitals, doctors referred to this illness as the Gay Cancer. But then, Patients in London, Paris, Munich and in other European cities started to fill their hospitals and health officials started to worry more. Many institutes in the United States like the Center of Disease Control in Atlanta and The Pasteur Institute in Paris France where both sharing data of what this new disease could be, and by 1985 they deter mined that all these gay male patients where dying of AIDS (Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), but while people where still dying, they found out that it was caused by a virus that attacks the white cells of the body, leaving it helpless to protect itself from any sort of intruder, and while the virus was annihilating the T cells, other infections would begin thus destroying the body. This was more than 30 years ago, but in the case of COVID 19, as the virus spreads and kills more people doctors and labs all over the world are discarding some treatment procedures of patients while discovering other ways the virus attacks. We are in the 1985 stage of COVID 19, and the only thing we know much like AIDS in the early mid eighties is how to protect ourselves.
With AIDS, doctors discovered that the virus spreads with the exchange of body fluids like blood and semen. Blood with body transfusions, hemophiliacs and drug needle users, and semen, through unprotected sex. Back in those days nobody wore condoms, and scientist soon discovered in Florida that women in the African American community also where infected, perhaps by men of Haitian descent who migrated to the United States, who probably got the virus in Africa. They also discovered something more frightening, which was that the period of incubation of the virus was not days, weeks or even months, but it was years. Hospitals in the USA, Great Britain and other countries looked like war zones, much like today, until the first AIDS drugs appeared years later.
In the case of today's pandemic, the best way we have so far to fight it is by not interacting with it and staying at home, and practicing social distance which means interacting with other people as little as possible while practicing biosecurities both at home and in the street, which includes wearings a protective face mask, washing your hands constantly and wearing surgical gloves if one can access them. With AIDS, the best way to combat the virus was and is to practice safe sex, and of course that means using condoms. Thanks to medical advancements since the eighties we can learn from a virus much quicker than before and we can cure patients more efficiently. We know that COVID 19 is a type of virus made up of small coronas over its sphere which allows the virus to stick to body tissue. We know that the virus most likely enters through our mouth, nose and even the eyes. We know that it is spread through micro particles in the mouth and nose but its not airborne. Because of its size, it will eventually fall into any surface. If you pass a person who is infected in less than three meters and that person coughs or sneezes without cover, those micro particles could get easily into your body via your mouth, nose and eyes unless you wear a mask. We also know that the virus can survive in different surfaces for hours and days on end. We know that a third method of infection is when the hand touches an infected surface and then brings the virus to the mouth, nose and eyes because we touch our face quite often, but as the pandemic continues to spread, we are finding out new traits of this virus, like it causes the blood to thicken, creating blood cloths. We also know that the incubation period is twelve to twenty four days and that in that space of time infected people can contaminate others while being asymptomatic. Every day, new information appears. With HIV, you can spread the virus to thousands of individuals in long periods of time while being asymptomatic.
People in our modern age as they did in the late 1970´s, travel and carry pathogens all over the world, and the more interconnected we are, the faster epidemics become pandemics. With COVID 19, our only weapon agains it is self sanitation, proper bio security habits both in house and in the streets, and self isolation. If before you used to wash your hands twice a day, now you wash ten times a day. If before you never thought of disinfecting your shoes as soon as you enter home, you will do this every time you come back from the streets, as well as stripping down of your clothes, putting them in a bag at the entrance of your house so that they can be put straight into the washing machine, take off your surgical gloves (if wearing them), washing your hands and your glasses (I have glasses) and head straight to the shower. If you are receiving groceries, you put on surgical gloves, grab the bags, put them on the floor, take out the items and one, put alcohol in each product, then you dispose of your surgical gloves. You can disinfect your face mask by grabbing a pan, putting some water in it, putting the straps of the mask onto the grabbers of the pan with the mask filter facing upwards, then you cover the pan with its cover, you let the water boil on high temp for 20 mins and this would supposedly not only kill the virus but it will allow you to reuse your mask instead of throwing them away. It sounds like a lot to do, but much like with HIV, this is the new normal. In the case of HIV, it altered the sexual habits of people with the male condom, then the female condom, and so on.
We know COVID 19 loves big crowds therefore the lock downs occur. In Ecuador, we started ours on March 15 2020 and it looks like we are gonna be locked down until late may. In the case of AIDS no lockdown was needed because of the way the virus is transmitted. You are not gonna contract AIDS from a cough or a sneeze. You are going to get it by having unprotected sex, by sharing needles or any other way your body's blood or semen can come into direct contact with someone else's blood or semen.
In gay sex, when the act is performed, the anus has itself many secretions all across its wall into the bladder, that when the penis is inserted and it ejaculates inside, the semen will be quickly absorbed, and if the penetrator happens to be HIV positive, the receiver could most likely become HIV positive too. If a drug user is HIV positive and shares his needle with other people right away, the remains of his or her blood inside the needle will most likely infect those who have used that same needle right after this person. If you are a hemophiliac or a person in need of any sort of blood transfusion, the blood that you are going to be receiving must be tested for HIV and the machines that will do the transfusions must be disinfected at all times. Many people contracted HIV in the United States and Europe in the 1980´s this way because incredibly there was no legislation that a. forced blood banks to refuse blood samples with the virus in it, and b. forced hospitals to disinfect their blood transfusion machines. Like we saw in the 80´s news reports of hospitals as battle zones, today we receive the same images via social media networks like facebook and the horrible twitter. The message I got from the news reports of AIDS and of COVID 19 were and are that both virus can lead to death. .
I was born in 1979 and my earliest recollection of the AIDS issue was around 1986. In my house we had a form of cable tv where we could tune in to CNN or NBC as well as national television and I remember watching all these horrible AIDS reports as well as adds, which were meant to scare you. I remember two adds that where both in Spanish and where paid off by the Red Cross. The first add showed two apples. On the left was a healthy one on the right was an HIV infected apple that with stop motion it self crumbled and the voice over said that if you have HIV this is what is going to happen to you. I remember being very scared, but I also remember this particular add which was an absolutely homophobic piece of work. The add started as a man enters a funeral home and approaches a family which was mourning the loss of a son. As this man approaches the coffin, the mother, crying, tells the man that her son is dead because his son fell in love with him. The message was clear, he dies because his lover infected him. He died because he was gay. With COVID today, the information that we are bombarded with mostly through social media is that of tragedy, and what makes it worse the fact that you have sources spilling out fake news about it, so you are flooded with strange theories, beliefs and tons of misinformation mixed in with factual reports. The truth is that now we know as much about COVID 19 as we did in 1985´s AIDS: Almost little to nothing, and the best thing for us to do is to stay home. I was watching one night a documentary about the castro district in San Francisco and its history and many described it in the AIDS era as a ghost hood. The owner of the flower shop in that corner died, and so did that restaurant owner, and that guy who was a bartender of so and so and like them thousands of others. Today, as you are barely able to walk in our streets before the 2 pm curfew starts, my city is completely strange to me. It is completely empty and those you pass by in the street are wearing masks like yourself and would be keeping their distance from you. Nothing is open except for banks and food market chains and when you go to a bank or supermarket, a guard separates you and other clients two meters, they disinfect you and if you are not wearing a mask they won't let you in. Hell, not if you don't wear a mask in the street you can be fined 10,000 dollars and go to prison. Strange times, both in the 1980´s and now. People were scared then, as people are scared now. AIDS came to stay, and so will COVID 19. We have been able to live with the HIV virus now for decades as new treatments have sharply better the lives of many men and woman who have it. I suppose that sooner or later we will control COVID 19 and it will be a treatable disease but bacterias, viruses and other illness will show up, and they will test us up until breaking limits, and the chain goes on.
And so I am, here, in front of my computer trying to make some sense of all of this, and thinking, with plenty of uncertainty of what lies ahead world wide , in the economic sense. So far, in the United States, there are about 20 million unemployed people thanks to the health crisis, and New York which is the economic and financial heart of the United States looks like a war zone. Imagine a country with now the highest amounts of COVID 19 Deaths and infections in the world, who with a population of more that 340 million people, now has about 20 million citizens unemployed. The most powerful country on earth. It is staggering to think. So its happening in Europe, Asia, Latin America and everywhere. The question is: Would you like an economy in complete lockdown, full of corpses and sick people running but slowly or would you like an economy with no lock downs, the economy functioning a bit better, but with triple the amount of sick people and deaths. That is the question. And this dilema has come home to me. My mother and my uncle have this business that depends on events which means crowds of people. As we are al most entering in our second month of complete lockdown here in Ecuador, my mother and my uncle had to very sadly and painfully lazy off 18 of their most dearest employees, because they have no other choice. It is sad and very painful, to me, to my mom, to my uncle, and to everyone else see this unfold. I can't explain. We paid all of our layoffs with their money for leave, but emotionally its very rough. You see I lived this because it spend many nights with my mother and many mornings, and most of the time she is either speaking to the lawyer of the company with my uncle, to solve problems, for almost two months. I work in this company too as a photographer, and unless there is events, I don't get paid, even though im not on the payroll but I present invoices monthly. No events, no check for me, and that is worrying. But this is not only in Ecuador, its everywhere. A corporation or enterprise cannot sustain a month or two or three without revenues, because it needs to pay its workers or the company disappears. My mother and my uncle have worked so hard to make their event company one of the best in the continent and for them to see that everything is crumbling is indescribable. We are working right now with the minimum of staff, but there will be a day hopefully in later months of this year, that events will happen again, and thus our company will start to flourish once more, in a new normal environment.
What is going to happen with big and small airlines?, what's gonna happen with world wide tourism?, with global retail?, banks, loans, services that are not essential? will everyone go more automated?, will fashion show less collections and will it be more focused on sustainability? Qill the notion of government change for the better or worse?. Will this be the start of your leaderships across the planet focused on completely different approaches in democracy, or will this lead way to more authoritative regimes? Will all of us be poorer? This is going to be the new normal, and we are going to face it as soon as we leave lockdowns. Although this is like the twilight zone meets Tarantino meets a Michael Moore documentary, we are all going to have to reinvent ourselves, and that includes me, in the way we conduct our careers and our lives. Are we going to have to go to malls?, Do we have too go to malls? Are we going to have to spend thousands of dollars in a luxury watch? Will we have to? All that I can say right now is that as hopeful I am of a better future, b y being extraordinarily active these past two months, I still can't make sense of all of this, I have a few activities regarding photos that I am making of myself in different moods and positions for an instagram challenge I just began there, and always think that right now, what matters is the day by day, be grateful for all I've got, and try and stay healthy. By most means I don't want to end up intubated in a hospital I don't know with nurses and doctors that I don't know and with nobody from my family being there. NO WAY.
Mat Bthe beginning of the pandemic and then the lockdown I was a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days I would be hopeful while others I would be terribly scared, mostly pf the virus. Having watched all these horrible images from china and Italy I would often ask myself: Am I gonna end up like that?, and I set up a plan, which meant being every day active by cleaning with my mom, doing my daily routine of exercise, develop new photo projects during the day, and new film projects during the night. I can't really think of the gratefulness that this decision has given me. It has given me a strong sense of positivism and hope. I have even engaged in taking self portraits that show the emotions that I have gone through in pictures, and I have created a series of photo challenges on instagram that I want to share based on my proper experience. To me, taking these pictures and edit these stories and IMTV Videos have given me a strong purpose. I want to take this time and explore new territory. Writing, filming and photographing works like a catharsis to me. My minds needs that. It needs for me to establish goals and aspirations. I need my body to be extraordinarily healthy to have a strong immune system and for my mind not to make me go insane.
At this point in time I need to be positive and not worry about the things that I cannot control while creating things that I love to create. I can't control the number of cases of COVID 19 growing in Ecuador, nor can I control the outcome of the global socioeconomic situation afterwards. Now I worry about my mind and body being sane and fit, while creating photo and film projects so that once we leave to the New Normal I will be ready to adapt to a new way of living. Storms pass. They leave tremendous havoc across but they vanish.
As we here in Ecuador are about to enter a new phase in the fight against COVID 19 (Social distancing and the slow re aperture of the economy), I can say that we will never forget those who fought this disease and its victims. Here in Ecuador, the situation in the city of Guayaquil became dantesque. It was an endless nightmare that swallowed many close friends of our family. It was raw, honest and brutal. All we could do here in Quito was sit, watch and cry in silence while staying home. I still can't describe it. And I guess I could never will. But we have to move on, hopefully as better humans, never forgetting about our national and international medical staff that worked tirelessly in the front lines, the policemen who enforced laws, our agro workers who brought food to our table, our petrol workers who kept supplies running so that we won't run out of gas, our firefighters who gave invaluable support to our health system by helping sick people, the police forces who patrolled our streets to comply with laws, the store clerks of markets and banks who allowed us to pay for our essential goods and who made possible that financial systems won't crash, our politicians that have established policies to `protect us, the trash collectors in every city that have picked all of our filth during the night, our armed forces, all of them here in Ecuador and abroad, who risked their own physical integrity to protect us who stayed at home, and to those who where able to beat the virus, both here at home and abroad.
The end of confinement is almost here and the dawn of a mysterious future will soon arrive. Whatever the outcome is, I never ever want to see the streets of Quito or any other city in the world look like ghost towns and eerily empty. I want to see life. I want to see people at work, traveling, eating out and enjoying themselves. I want to see families and friendships spending more time together, because that is what makes us humans. We are no lonesome tigers wondering in the wilds of Siberia or the wet forest of South East Asia. We are social beings. We will survive and carry on, with different goals and methods, but we will move forward.