Friday, May 15, 2020

Lockdown ends, for now

The government has ended the lockdown it forced upon citizens in its overreaction to virus hysteria, and Parisians have somewhat timidly come out of their homes again. There are still restrictions, though; freedom is hard to win but easy to lose.

The most striking thing about this post-lockdown Paris is the complete absence of tourists. I've never seen that before. I suppose this is just one more aspect of the hysteria that has not been seen since the Occupation, which was decades before my time. It's spooky—and it's bad news for the part of the economy that is linked to tourism (about six percent). This is especially obvious in touristy areas like the Champs-Élysées and the Latin Quarter. Museums like the Louvre are completely closed. Bicycles have replaced cars on some streets, such as the rue de Rivoli. Restaurants, bars, and hotels are closed, although restaurants can sell take-out food. Some other stores are open. Places like home improvement and phone stores are open and seem to have a lot of customers. They are all Parisian, of course—even before they disappeared, tourists did not often shop for plumbing fixtures or wallpaper.

There are many restrictions on using the Métro: everyone must wear a mask, every other seat is forbidden, and so on. There isn't a lot of traffic.

Actually, the restrictions imposed by the authorities are about as stable as the wind. I have trouble keeping  track of what is open and what is closed, and what I'm permitted to do without fear of fines or jail. The government is simply inventing random rules in order to create the impression that it is Doing Something to stop the Deadly Virus, even though there really isn't anything that can be done so long as there is no vaccine or cure.

The great mystery is … why? Mortality of the Deadly Virus isn't much different from that of the flu. Why does society have to come to a grinding halt? Why must people be thrown out of work? Why must businesses be destroyed? Why must the population be kept frightened? This has never been done before for other, similar virus epidemics.

I'm about the last person to suspect conspiracies, but this hysteria baffles me. The hysteria is not supported by the science—so who started it, and why?

Anyway, I went out and made a little video a few days ago, to which I've linked below. You can see how things are for yourself.


On the technical side, I shot this with an iPhone. It actually seems to have better image quality than my crusty old video camera (although that might be partially due to a change in workflow, too). It doesn't have stereo audio, but I only record ambient sound, anyway. What I miss more is the optical motorized zoom, but it's perfectly possible to shoot nice video with fixed focal lengths.

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