The Virus (not a computer one)
If a 4-year old can ask a parent who has just sneezed :"Have you got the virus?", something has definitely changed in the world.
The new player on the stage ( I know, Shakespeare has said it before, "all the world's a stage"), this new player is terribly feared and ferociously pursued.
It's both fast and evasive, it carries no ID (do scientists know something we don't?), it can kill. It does kill and maim.
For short, more than just a bloody nuisance. Fleeing communism or fascism or any -ism used to involve crossing some form of physical border, risking life and limb.
No point anymore in viewing the other side of any border as a safe space.
The Virus has made sure old perceptions have become totally useless, even dangerous. It loves ridiculing us, the whole lot.
Take that "There's safety in numbers". Gotta be joking, no?
Is it still true that "No man is an island "? (I know, just quoting John Donne, full poem on this site.)
Not true. Everyone is and has to stay an island till the Virus has either completed its karmic cycle or it's beaten back by the Vaccine.
Writers have a very difficult task ahead. They can write ad nauseam (I know a bit of Latin too) about the V-factor. They can revive Romanticism or other literary Golden Age. They can just devote a lot more time to reading than writing.
Which one will prevail?