2020 Coronavirus Wikipedia

COVID-19: This too shall pass

Everything seemed normal for about half a minute while driving on the 401 last night and listening to After Hours by The Weeknd (give it a listen for at least 2 minutes). Traffic on the way to Mississauga was sparse and there was no sign of rush-hour conditions at 5:30 PM on a weekday on North America’s busiest highway. Shocking, really. The drive back felt normal with a lot more vehicles on the road. Perhaps that is why the brain decided to relax and forget about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As of today, March 19th, 2020, there are 80,928 confirmed COVID-19 cases in China, 41,035 in Italy, 18,407 in Iran, 17,963 in Spain, 15,320 in Germany, 11,780 in the United States, 10,995 in France, 8,565 in South Korea, 801 in Canada, and 453 in Pakistan.

Somewhat disappointing that the name COVID-19 is derived from “Coronavirus disease 2019

The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic Wikipedia page was created by Schön Cho on January 5th, 2020 as “2019-2020 China pneumonia outbreak.” My first pandemic related edit was on February 27th when Canada confirmed the first human-to-human transmission in Toronto: Husband of Ontario’s 5th COVID-19 case also tests positive for coronavirus CBC News. By that time the outbreak page had been broken up into monthly timeline pages: December 2019 – January 2020 and February 2020.

The World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020. All COVID-19 related pages on Wikipedia were subsequently renamed from outbreak to pandemic. Today, Wikipedia has dedicated pages for each country, and in some cases dedicated state and provincial pages.

My morning routine nowadays is to open the mobile view of the pandemic template page to get a quick overview of how things are around the globe. This is most likely not good for mental health.

There is not much we can do individually apart from following guidelines and instructions from our municipal, provincial, and federal government’s medical health officers:

Dr. Eileen de Villa
Dr. Eileen de Villa
Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto
Dr. David Williams
Dr. David Williams
Chief Medical Officer of Health for Province of Ontario
Dr. Theresa Tam
Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Medical Officer of Canada

Practice “social distancing”:

IG: @justinpjtrudeau: Is it a noun? Is it a verb? Doesn’t matter. Social distancing is what we all need to be doing right now. #FlattenTheCurve

Also, wash your hands. Wash your hands multiple times a day.

WHO instructions on how to wash your hands

These are extraordinary and unprecedented times we’re living in, and hopefully this is a once-in-a-generation event. Everything is surreal and anxiety-inducing and all of it together seems too much.

There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen – Lenin

It is important to remember that this too shall pass…

…and we will go outside and we will hug each other and we will have dinner parties and go to movies and do all the things we used to take for granted.

In the meantime, don’t forget to wash your hands.

Seriously, wash your hands.

The title of this post, “this too shall pass,” is a Persian proverb that “reflects on the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition.”

2020 Wikipedia

Jahangir — King of the World

@cyalm retweeted the following into my timeline:

The tweet is from a Pakistani journalist, Munizae Jahangir and she is wishing Happy Birthday to her mother, Asma Jahangir, a human-rights lawyer and social activist who passed away in 2018. January 27th, 2020 would’ve been her 68th birthday.

I’ve been reading Cyril’s columns for Dawn and following him on Twitter for many years but did not know Munizae and would’ve scrolled past the retweet without any thought other than silently wishing that her mom is at peace. However, the image in the tweet seemed familiar.

The photograph was posted on Simon Frasier University’s Flickr account in 2017 when they awarded Asma Jahangir with an honorary degree. The photo was licensed under Creative Commons, which essentially means that the photo does not have copyright restriction on it and can be used by anyone for commercial or non-commercial purposes as long as the owner/creator of the photograph is given “appropriate credit.”

It had looked familiar because on April 23rd, 2019, I had found the image on SFU’s Flickr account, uploaded it to Commons, updated the image field on Wikidata, and added it to Wikipedia‘s article for Asma Jahangir.

Wikipedia is usually on the first page of results on Google and Google Image search shows this same photograph of Asma from Wikipedia as the first result, at least as of February 2020.

I’d like to think that Asma’s daughter Munizae went to Google to look for an image, found this photo as the first result, downloaded it, and then used it in the tweet honouring her mother; and I am glad that I played a tiny, minuscule part in that process.

Wikipedia is currently in the top ten most popular sites and is colloquially known as “the encyclopaedia anyone can edit”. The non-profit Wikimedia Foundation that hosts Wikipedia has numerous other projects that share the same goal: to increase access to free knowledge.

I like Commons because of my interest in casual photography. As of February 2020, the project has 47 million files and is the world’s largest free-to-use collection of photographs, illustrations, videos, music, and more.

Some of my photographs uploaded to Commons have been used on the web. My first upload was in September 2006: Vancouver International Airport. Licensing your uploads under CC BY-SA means that the person using your work is obligated to give “appropriate credit.” That usually means printing your name at the end of the article with a link to where the photo was sourced from.

For example, this article on NextShark about possible Listeria contamination at Trader Joe’s uses my photograph of Trader Joe’s in Amherst and states: “Sikander Iqbal (CC BY-SA 4.0)” at the end. Nice, and thank you, Bryan Ke!

So, go ahead, create an account on Wikimedia Commons and start uploading your original photographs and share them with the world, or find photographs with a free license and upload them to Commons (with proper attribution, of course) and you just might see the result of your volunteer effort while idly browsing Twitter.

The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally.

* this post was written at at North York Central Library
* Jahangir is a Persian word that means “King of the World”