I have wanted to ask someone who is not familiar with a Buddhist culture how they might interpret this street art, which is generating controversy in a predominantly Buddhist country.
Covid is attacking the world (represented by the globe/planet).
It's entering the world (like the virus enters a biological cell).
The world is suffering (represented by the crying face).
The doctors and nurses (white lab coats and masks) are pulling together (working/cooperating) to help pull the world away from death.
It looks like death by drowning, they don't appear to be winning at the moment.
The sea-weed-like tail and teeth on the virus make it look like a deep-sea fish. I'm not sure what the red eye is meant to symbolise, except it's "Breaking the fourth wall".
The flag is Myanmar's.
I don't know about "death" and/or "father time" there -- represented with a scythe, which is an agricultural tool for cutting long grass and wheat and so on -- that's western imagery/iconography, is it eastern too?
Giving it the same colour as a monk's robe in Myanmar -- i.e. coloured maroon -- it's that I guess which is the "controversy" you're talking about (in the west, Death's robe would normally be grey or black -- coincidentally about the colour of a Christian monk's cassock).
The figure's tall/straight back, and bowl, look a bit like a monk's also.
Perhaps it's being interpreted as a message that monks an/or Buddhism are spreading the disease somehow, and that modern medicine/medics are trying the save people?
Yes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_(personification) does seem to imply that the Grim Reaper is or was typically western rather than eastern iconography. My guess is that the artist didn't intend to be anti-Buddhist, but did a bad job of translating the Grim Reaper. In the West it's depicted dressed (if it's dressed at all and not just a naked skeleton) in the robes of a Christian monk. I think that's not intended as an anti-Christian message, but comes from medieval times when it was intended to be seen and understood by monks -- in that context, "monks robes" were simply the ordinary clothing which they all (all monks) wore, so Death was wearing the robes of a departed Brother. Maybe tactless or controversial of the artist, though, to depict that as a Buddhist instead.