Home WORLD ‘I Will Get Up’: A Hard New Year Greets a World in...

‘I Will Get Up’: A Hard New Year Greets a World in Waiting

“We’re adrift,” said Luis Miguel Melche, 42, a Mexico City-based production manager for rock and pop groups. Mexico City, a global capital for food, literature and the arts, has gone quiet. “It’s totally dead,” he said.

Usually Mr. Melche enjoys the busy season’s earnings in January by unwinding and planning ahead. Now he is wound tight as ever, he said, and as for plans, “there isn’t anything.” He is home, unemployed, drawing down his savings and wondering when and if things will rebound.

“It’s uncertainty, worry,” Mr. Melche said. “There’s no sense of motivation, that it’s a New Year and that things will happen.”

Even places that much of the world looked to with admiration for their response to the pandemic have stumbled into the New Year.

South Korea, with near blanket contact-tracing and effective quarantines, had seemed to dodge the scourge. But over Christmas week, infections soared to the largest daily increases yet, and officials this week introduced a nationwide ban on private gatherings of more than four people.

China has had success in stamping out the virus after it first exploded there — recently reporting less than 50 daily new cases at a time when the United States, the world’s most-infected country, is hitting more than 200,000 new cases and 2,000 deaths a day.

Though scattered clusters of cases have emerged in China in recent weeks, including in Beijing, bringing fresh restrictions and warnings against mass gatherings, residents greeted 2021 with a mix of hope and concern.

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