“Doctors dance to lift patients’ spirits while friends bring meals to those too scared to leave their homes in Tehran. In nearby provinces, residents raise money to buy face masks for medical workers and locals threaten to block roads into areas with high coronavirus infection rates.
Mistrustful of their clerics and fed-up with their leaders, Iranians are uniting, cracking jokes and putting themselves on the front lines to ease anxious minds, soothe the infected and curb the spread of the deadly virus that’s so far killed 514 people in the country. Friday prayers have been canceled and tens of thousands of inmates have been furloughed.
The military has been ordered to take control of containing the virus. Citizens have been informed they will be monitored through “cyberspace and phone calls.” But even in these unprecedented times, when “social distancing” is the watch phrase, humor leavens daily life.
“Hello, friends, how are you?” one man asks two others in a Twitter video. Instead of kissing cheeks in the traditional Iranian greeting, the men, standing on a sidewalk in front of a shop, lift their shoes and tap each others’ feet.”