As expected, it seems that the Novel Coronavirus has started to affect everyone’s lives. For an anime fan, it definitely had an impact. Not only anime productions are getting delayed, but also events and even anime conventions. Even the Tokyo Olympics that is happening later this year is in jeopardy and will most likely see a delay.
Not only that, various anime productions faced delays as a result. Some are very noticeable with Koisuru Asteroid, Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T, A3, and others. It doesn’t end there. Some spring anime, most notably Re Zero Second Season along with a bunch of films pushed back until the summer. Moreover, Amazon is prioritizing shipping of certain goods to deal with the virus. This causes things like anime DVD/Blu-rays, merchandise, video games, etc to face shipping delays. With that, we are living with a new reality and life as we know it is changed forever.
You might be wondering, what is the Novel Coronavirus (aka Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2/SARS-CoV-2/nCov-19/Covid-19) and what affect it is happening on the anime industry. Most of you should have heard about this virus on the news and social media. As expected, it’s having a huge effect on people’s everyday lives. I will share some of my thoughts on how this situation is affecting me personally.
What is SARS-CoV-2? SARS-CoV-2 is a type of coronavirus that is spherical, which have spikes that look like pedals. They originate in animals, but there is a possibility of transmitting to humans. Coronaviruses usually causes upper respiratory tract infections that can range from being mild to severe. Some examples of coronaviruses in recent times are SARS and MERS, which can become lethal.
So why SARS-CoV-2 is affecting various things such as social gatherings like conventions and live performances to anime productions? Unlike SARS and the flu, there is no vaccine for it. Since the SARS-CoV-2 is new type of virus, there is no immunity. To make things worse, it’s easily spread through droplet aerosols, thus making it easy to catch the virus.
Not only that, the virus can become severe and it’s not just old and immunocompromised that are at risk, but also young people under 60. It starts off with a severe dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and death. Even if you survive, there is a chance that you will lose 20-30% of lung function. That is very nasty and you don’t want it.
If you heard from the news about what is happening in Italy, there are cases severe enough that people started burdening the healthcare system. In other words, some people may not receive the life-saving treatment they need. This can explain the cancellation of events and closures by federal and local governments.
With that, there is a reason why events, live performances and social gatherings are being cancelled or delayed, it’s part of flattening the curve through social distancing to limit the spread of the virus. You don’t want the healthcare system to become overburden. As a result, governments around the world are taking drastic actions. This can range from limits on social gatherings, school closures, closure of businesses, and even full lockdowns known a shelter in place. This means that you can’t leave your house unless it’s deemed necessary.
Without social distancing, the health care system will reach overcapacity, leading to unnecessary deaths. Those deaths would have a greater effect on the economy in forms of lost talent that is difficult to find. By taking strong measures now, you limit the loss of talent. It’s best to hurt the economy now and rebuild it later instead of later, when it will become very difficult. With that, this is probably why you are seeing news of anime conventions, live performances, social gatherings, etc. getting canceled.
Of course, because of the social distancing, it has impacted anime industry as well. Well, not just with the release of character goods, but also affecting anime productions. Anime News Network shared some insight about the impacts. Studios force employees to work from home to reduce the spread of the virus.
If you are teleworking already, you should become familiar with virtual private networks (VPN). Virtual private networks are used to access the corporate network and resources. There are some downsides as it can only handle so much traffic from people teleworking. Moreover, there is a learning curve to accessing remote resources, which slows down productivity.
According to the article, with the licenses to 3D software being expensive, they have to use remote desktop to use it. As expected, there is a learning curve. Also, some of the in-between work is outsourced. Given the impact of coronavirus, there will be delays due to offices being closed. Not only that, an animator or artist can get sick from the virus. As a result, others have to take over, thus causing delays.
With that, this can explain why some studios choose to delay their productions until summer. People hope by then the virus outbreak will get under control through some treatment, better testing, and more people being immune to the virus. Either way this really depends on the studio’s situation.
Of course, there is no doubt that the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic will affect everyone, even if you don’t catch it. We are already seeing this with the stock market crashing, businesses losing sales due to closure, mass layoffs, etc. Where I live in Maryland, they have already shut down malls, gyms, restaurants (takeout and delivery only), movie theaters, bars, entertainment venues, schools, and universities. Moreover, they put a limit to 10 people for social gatherings. I expect that the state will face a state-wide shelter in place order soon. Several states, California, Illinois, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania and several large cities already done so.
Believe it or not, I haven’t left the house since March 13th. Since I work for the federal agency and my occupation focuses on information technology, I was allowed to telework temporarily. The anxieties in regard to Coronavirus was hitting a fever pitch last Wednesday since there are people coughing on the train. Of course, Washington, DC, where my workplace is located already declared a state of emergency on March 11th.
While I have been keeping track of the Coronavirus and gaining knowledge of how bad it thanks to my little sister, I made an informed decision. Since my supervisor allowed me to telework, I decided to do it. Eventually, the agency am working for basically allowed for maximum telework. In other words, they basically don’t want people coming into the office until the outbreak is under control, which can last up to 8 weeks or longer.
With that, I haven’t really left the house since Friday evening besides picking up the mail. I am planning to have my groceries delivered. Even if it cost a little more, it’s worth it to limit exposure from the virus since I don’t have an N95 mask, which can filter out the virus. Of course, I practice proper hygiene such as washing my hands, disinfecting surfaces, and not touching my face.
Of course, there are those young people, namely Generation Z, who are partying on spring break in Florida, which makes me cringe. Not only that they are risking their lives, they are putting their loved ones and everyone else’s in jeopardy for their own selfish reasons. Don’t do this!
I know that this is difficult, especially you are an extrovert to go into self-isolation without being around with anyone. Believe it or not, I don’t mind solitude as I spend most of my time in front of my computer most of the time. I don’t really party or go out and socialize with other people in real life. Mostly it’s because I want to save my money for hobbies and of course, the future.
However, social isolation does not mean you have to cut yourself from talking with other people. Besides social media and online forums, there is things like Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp, SnapChat, etc. that allow you to talk to other people. This is how I talk to my parents who live in New Jersey. At this rate, I probably can’t go back home until probably July the latest. However, with video conferencing, I can see how they are doing and keep in touch.
Of course, sitting at home for some people can cause boredom. If you are watching anime already, just keep doing so. I would invest in a good streaming box like the Apple TV or Nvidia Shield if you are using Crunchyroll, Hidive or Funimation. Also, a big screen TV or a projector would also provide a good experience.
I decided to opt for a projector (a refurbished Epson Home Cinnema 1060) to replace my aging 32-inch TV and to make my bedroom feel less cramped. Also, I can have a big screen as well with a more cinematic feel. Lastly, it’s portable, meaning I can move it downstairs and watch stuff in my office if I wish.
Besides anime, I also plan to finish some of the games on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. I am currently focusing on the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon remake, but I have several games to finish in my backlog to finish. But video games are a great way to pass the time away. I bet most anime fans play video games as well.
Lastly, I plan to brush up on my Japanese skills and read more manga. Sure, I read manga on my iPad when I commute from my workplace to home. I guess with all this free time after teleworking, I guess I can try to finish more of my backlog. At the same time, I can improve my skills.
While it can be tough for people to self-isolate for a long period of time, please realize that this is to your benefit. As the saying go, you can save many lives by just staying home. That way, you do not want to spread the virus to your loved ones, friends, and other people you don’t know. By doing your part with some self-sacrifice by not going out to social gatherings, you will help defeat SARS-CoV-2. Remember, this is just temporary and the outbreak will eventually end.
In short, I recommend doing the following
- Keep yourself occupied. This can range from watching anime, playing video games, reading manga/light novels, focusing on other hobbies, or doing self-improvement activities like learning a new language.
- Do not have any social gatherings. This means no parties, visiting friends and family, having sleepovers, etc. Also, no traveling and limit public transportation. Work from home if your employers allow you to.
- Practice proper social distancing. Maintain a distance of 6 feet away from other people.
- Consider alternative forms of communication to keep in touch with your friends such as video conferencing, social media, phone calls, etc. Avoid face to face interactions, except for those in your household and not sick.
- Do not go out of your home unless necessary. You should only go out if you need to buy food, see a doctor, or get medicine. Wear a N95 mask, eye protection, and gloves if you have them available.
- Practice proper hygiene. Wash your hands for 30 secs with soap and water. Do not touch your face, unless you watched them. Disinfect any frequently used surfaces.
- Stock up for a 30-day supply of food. Do not panic buy or hoard supplies. You are hurting others who may need food and supplies.
- Keep yourself informed about SARS-CoV-2 from trusted sources. Ignore others who believe the virus is a hoax or say things like “it’s just the flu, bro. It’s going to go away eventually.”
In short, stay home, keep calm, and watch lots of Anime.
With that, feel free to share how you are coping with social distancing and what activates are you doing in the meantime.