Early Attitudes Towards Coronavirus in Crimeans

Nobody had coronavirus in Crimea when I arrived in Alupka. I compared the attitude towards COVID-19 to what I experienced in the US just a month earlier.

Attitudes towards Coronavirus in Crimea

What I first noticed is that Crimeans had an unconcerned attitude towards COVID-19. “Russians are just not afraid such things,” my wife told me. She even had a Soviet quote to fit the attitude: “A man destined to drown will not hang himself.”

This was the attitude I saw on the street in Crimea at the time. Hardly anyone was wearing face masks or gloves. Nobody was social distancing. Businesses were open and did not take safety measures. All situations still required a firm handshake between two men.

Social distancing in Crimea

I visited the home of an elderly gentleman in Alupka. He told me “Russians are not afraid of any virus. I have lived through worse.” He was referring to the breakup of the Soviet Union and previous pandemics.

Changes in Attitudes Towards Coronavirus

Because I had seen US attitudes towards COVID-19 move from unconcerned to panic, I saw this starting point already. I guessed that the virus in Crimea would follow a similar course as the rest of the world. Thus, Crimea needed to take some proper precautions.

Attitudes towards COVID-19 in Moscow

The Moscow Times covered coronavirus with weekly reports starting on February 2. By March 1, Russia had closed borders with several countries. They also had their first internal case of coronavirus. Because the situation was changing daily, the Moscow Times started giving daily updates on March 15.

My prediction ended up coming true. It only took a week before the attitudes towards the virus started to change in Crimea.

See also: Republic of Crimea – My Renewed Writings and Coronavirus Pandemic: Travel to Russia and Crimea

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