How are you doing? Tales from the home front in lockdown

Today, when people ask “how are you doing?”, they expect an answer. The question is now more than just a polite alternative to clearing your throat before the conversation begins. 

And everyone’s answer is different. At best, you may find yourself in a physically cut-off world, except from those you live with—who you may be getting to know even better than you thought possible. But you may also be more in touch with long-lost friends and family members around the world, just to ask them “how are you doing?”.

This week and next, CoinGeek Conversations is putting that question to some of our friends near and far, starting with Ryan X. Charles, the founder and CEO of Money Button in California, and Lise Li, China Manager of the Bitcoin Association, in Beijing. Podcast host Charles Miller is joined by CoinGeek’s new producer Natalie Mason, to compare their calls to Ryan and Lise. 

Ryan spoke to us from San Francisco. Having been under lockdown for a month, California being the first state government to enforce restrictions of movement, he talks about the effect that has had in comparison with other states and what permanent shifts may happen to the world of work.

Looking at the long-term implications worldwide, Ryan shared his view on the importance of regular testing and authentication to combat future pandemics. To be able to open up global travel again, he says, “we’re going to need to know if you’ve had a virus or not. This will not be the last pandemic and we need global infrastructure to be prepared for the next one”. How may this look in the future? “Your ID card may end up telling you whether you have been tested for and whether you have or have had viruses in the past.”

From Beijing, Lise provides a note of optimism since the city, and indeed the whole of China, is gradually easing the virus lockdown, although ordinary life is still far from normal: “if you want to dine in a restaurant, at every table there should be no more than two people,” Lise says. And the tables themselves need to be separated by two metres.  

Lise is still only leaving home if there’s something she has to do. Nothing is back to how it was but “it’s much better than it was one or two months ago”.

Join us next week for reports from two other continents, as we continue to find out what self-isolation means around the world.  

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