A Pandemic Empties the World’s Grandest Public Spaces

Out of necessity, we've abandoned the spaces we'd come to share. Until next time.

Eiffel Tower before and after coronavirus
The Eiffel Tower, Paris, France. Photos via Getty Images

People are still dying, and hospital beds are overwhelmed by those suffering from coronavirus. As of early April, half of the world’s population now either lives under some degree of social distancing guidelines and is hopefully shut in responsibly or—worse—working at significant risk in essential jobs. In the United States, layoffs and furloughs are now a daily news item as entire industry sectors reel from the crisis. And we still don’t have enough of the masks or ventilators we need. The COVID-19 pandemic has put everything else on hold.

Amid all this the planet’s public spaces have emptied. Non-essential travel is all but halted, and so humanity’s tourist destinations, agoras, parks, museums, landmarks and other shared meeting points sit unbothered for the most part.

SEE ALSO: Despite Face Mask Shortage, US Hesitates to Import Chinese N95 Alternative

As of now, there is no quick fix to this virus. No vaccine is coming in the near future. All we can do is wait and remember the places waiting for us outside of our homes. We’ll return to them when we can.

The Eiffel Tower (above)

Left: French rock singer Johnny Hallyday, sometimes known as “the French Elvis,” performs on Bastille Day, July 14, 2009, at the Champ de Mars—a massive public greenspace between the Eiffel Tower and the École Militaire in Paris. (Photo: Philipp Guelland/AFP via Getty Images)

Right: A view from the nearby deserted Esplanade du Trocadéro on March 28, patrolled by a policeman near the tower. It was the twelfth day of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 in France. (Photo: Stephane de Sakutin/AFP via Getty Images)

Times Square (below)

Top: New York City’s Times Square, in Manhattan, as captured on September 9, 2019. Approximately 460,000 people, many of them tourists from around the world, will walk through Times Square on a busy day. (Photo: Alexandra Schuler/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Bottom: The view of Times Square on March 29, a rainy day. New York State and particularly its metropolitan area is the nation’s hardest hit population, with coronavirus cases topping 100,000 as of April 3. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Times Square before and after coronavirus
Times Square, New York City. Photos via Getty Images

The Louvre Museum

Top: I.M. Pei’s Pyramid in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum on August 1, 2003. The pyramid is made of 603 rhombus-shaped and 70 triangular glass segments and Parisians and is a familiar site for Parisians and visitors to the Louvre, who mill around it every day. (Photo by Michel Setboun/Corbis via Getty Images)

Bottom: A view of the museum on March 31. Health authorities say the new coronavirus killed an additional 499 people in France that day as it continued to take a devastating toll on the country. France’s death toll to the coronavirus as of Thursday, April 2, had surged to 5,387 according to Reuters. (Photo by Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Louvre Museum before and after coronavirus
The Louvre Museum, Paris, France. Photos via Getty Images

The Great Wall

Top: In China, the national “Golden Week” holidays drive millions of visitors to tourist destinations like this section of the Great Wall outside Beijing, leading to crowds like this one on October 3, 2012. (Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Bottom: A Chinese boy walks a nearly empty section of the Great Wall on March 27, near Badaling in Beijing, China. A limited section of the tourist site was recently re-opened at the end of March. China recently recorded its first day with no new domestic cases of the coronavirus last week, though new cases later sprang up again. (Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Great Wall of China before and after coronavirus
Sections of the Great Wall of China before and after coronavirus. Photos via Getty Images

The Brooklyn Bridge

Top: Photo-hungry tourists on the Brooklyn Bridge are used to hearing shouts of “Get out of the bike lane!” and “Move!” as they clog the narrow pedestrian path and spill across the white divider. This image was taken October 12, 2018. (Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

Bottom: The Brooklyn Bridge, like other New York public spaces, sits empty in the fog on March 30, 2020. (Photo: Joel Sheakoski/Barcroft Media via Getty Images)

Brooklyn Bridge before and after coronavirus
Brooklyn Bridge, New York City. Photos via Getty Images

Trevi Fountain

Top: Bathing in the Trevi Fountain actually predates its modern construction by 18-century architect Nicola Salvi by many hundreds of years. It is one of Rome’s oldest public water sources and was built at the end point of an aqueduct, where it fed to a public bath. Authorities have cracked down since it’s grown in popularity as an international tourist destination, as seen on summer days like this one from 2016. (Photo: Andrea Ronchini/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Bottom: Its view on March 29. Rome’s historic streets are quiet in the wake of its nationwide lockdown. As of April 3, coronavirus had claimed 14,681 lives in Italy. (Photo: Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

Trevi Fountain before and after coronavirus
The Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy. Photos via Getty Images

Hagia Sophia

Top: Once a Greek Orthodox cathedral, later a mosque in the Ottoman Empire and now a museum, Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia is one of the most historic and impressively built structures in the world, the jewel of Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district, as show in this 2011 photo. (Photo: Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Bottom: A picture taken on April 1, 2020 shows the empty streets around it. Turkish officials have repeatedly urged the population to respect social distancing rules, while 356 have died from COVID-19 as of April 2. (Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP via Getty Images)

Hagia Sophia before and after coronavirus
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey. Photos via Getty Images

Sydney Opera House

Top: New Year’s Eve, 2019, at Australia’s Sydney Opera House, where crowds gather to watch firework displays every year. (Photo: Hanna Lassen/Getty Images)

Bottom: The Opera Bar beside Sydney Opera House is seen closed in this image taken on April 1. (Photo: Tao Shelan/China News Service via Getty Images)

Sydney Opera House before and after coronavirus
Sydney Opera House, Sydney Australia. Photos via Getty Images

Brandenburg Gate

Top: Celebrations on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall—re-unifying East and West Berlin—lit up the Brandenburg Gate on November 9, 2014. (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Bottom: The view of Brandenburg Gate on March 31. In Berlin, gatherings of more than two people are prohibited and shops are closed. More than 1,200 have died from COVID-19, as of April 3. (Photo: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Brandenburg Gate before and after coronavirus
Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany. Photos via Getty Images

Red Square

Top: On July 6, 2005, Russians crowded the Red Square in Moscow while waiting for the official announcement of which city would host the 2012 Olympics. The square is UNESCO World Heritage site and arguably Russia’s most important public meeting place, inextricably linked to Moscow and Russia’s politics and culture since the 13th century. (Photo: Tatyana Makeyeva/AFP via Getty Images)

Bottom: On March 31, the square sat empty but for two police officers patrolling it. Moscow went into lockdown on March 30 and more than a dozen other Russian regions took similar steps. At least 34 Russians have reportedly died from COVID-19. (Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images)

Red Square before and after coronavirus
Red Square, Moscow, Russia. Photos via Getty Images

The Giza Pyramid Complex

Top: Car, foot and bus traffic snarls the roads en route to the Great Pyramid of Giza, outside Cairo, as seen on June 29, 2014. The pyramids and the Great Sphinx of Giza, completed thousands of years ago, reportedly receive 14.7 million visitors each year. (Photo: Gale Beery/Getty Images)

Bottom: A man takes pictures in front of the Great Pyramid, which was emblazoned with a laser projection: “Stay Home” on March 30. (Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images)

pyramids at giza egypt before and after coronavirus
Giza Pyramid Complex, Greater Cairo, Egypt Photos via Getty Images

Grand Central Terminal

Top: The rush-hour commute on November 18, 2015. Grand Central connects several different commuter rail and subway lines that weave through Manhattan and connect it not just to the outer boroughs but to Upstate New York, New England and beyond. (Photo: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Bottom: The view inside Grand Central on March 31. This week, President Trump extended social distancing guidelines for Americans to April 30. Many New Yorkers still ride subways and other public transit, their primary method of transportation in a dense city of 8.6 million. According to some projections, American deaths will peak in late-April. (Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Grand Central Station before and after coronavirus
Grand Central Station, New York City. Photos via Getty Images

Christ the Redeemer

Top: An icon of both religious and national significance, Rio de Janeiro’s statue of Christ sits atop the mountain Corcovado, the most prominent figure of Tijuca Forest, the tropical rainforest and national park that overlooks Rio. Here it is on a typical afternoon, September 15, 2015. (Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images)

Bottom: The statue was illuminated on March 18 with messages of international solidarity and calls to pray in a mass performed by the Archbishop of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Dom Orani Tempesta. (Photo: Wagner Meier/Getty Images)

christ the redeemer statue before and after coronavirus
Christ the Redeemer Statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Photos via Getty Images

For now it’s unclear when we’ll be able to return to these international wonders or even venture out into the world to hug our friends and families. All that we can look forward to is when it will be safe to do so.

A Pandemic Empties the World’s Grandest Public Spaces