From Zizek’s Pandemic! loc 396:
The abandoned streets in a megalopolis—the usually bustling urban centers looking like ghost towns, stores with open doors and no customers, just a lone walker or a single car here and there, provide a glimpse of what a non-consumerist world might look like. The melancholic beauty of the empty avenues of Shanghai or Hong Kong remind me of some old post-apocalyptic movies like On the Beach, which shows a city with most of its population wiped out—no big spectacular destruction, just the world out there no longer ready-at-hand, awaiting us, looking at us and for us. Even the white masks worn by the few people walking around provide a welcome anonymity and liberation from the social pressure of recognition.