Coronavirus: Destroying the lives of millions without ever affecting them
As we stand at the precipice of a new decade, we are also dealing with a new threat, one that we may have dealt with in the past, but our current social mechanisms are entirely unprepared for: a virus. An infectious disease that we have no idea where it came from, how it spreads, how it affects people and of course no way to stop it. The entire situation seems eerily similar to a Hollywood movie in which things to from bad to worse only to reach the peak and eventually a happy ending.
But this is real life we’re talking about. These are people’s lives we’re dealing with. Not a single one should be taken for granted, whether old, young, financial or social status, no one is disposable. Everyone deserves the same treatment and the same level of protection from this unknown (and unseen) ‘enemy’ and should be treated to it. Which would be true in an idealistic world.
However, with the number of the infected constantly on the rise even in advanced nations such as Italy, France, Spain and even the United States, hospitals no longer have that luxury due to a lack of medical equipment and are forced to make very harsh, but very pragmatic, decisions. The 80-year-old is not going to receive the same treatment as the 21-year-old or someone who may already have a terminal illness in addition to the coronavirus may be considered somewhat “expendable” in the place of someone else who can go on and live a happy (but more importantly, useful) life.
So then, in the face of this global crisis, why aren’t global governments taking all the necessary measures, one might ask. Why have some of them allowed things to reach this point before pulling the plug and forcing everyone to stay indoors and why do others (such as Australia) still insist on living in the illusion that everything is going to be alright and nothing terrible will happen? If it can affect one country in the thousands, then it could affect another in the same way, right? Why be re-active rather than pro-active?
There is another affect the coronavirus is having on our societies which also needs to be taken into consideration at this point: the financial impact. It is very difficult for entire governments to simply give the order to shut down and keep everyone at home because then they begin hemorrhaging. And it doesn’t take long before the small gaps turn into giant wormholes that simply cannot be contained. Companies need to keep operating in order to pay back loans or make money for their sponsors. If all that stops, then agreements fall through, money starts being owed from one person (or corporation) to the next and before we know it, the situation spirals out of control.
And this isn’t only about governments and corporations either. How many people can truly afford to sustain themselves for an extended period of time in quarantine? How many need to pay off their loans for their cars or their houses? How many have rising debts that need to be repaid? With the coronavirus not having an “expiration date”, not going to work for the long-term is simply not an option.
The world is only now truly recovering from a financial crisis, yet already due to this virus we’re beginning to see just how fragile things are. It’s very easy for the economy to collapse, similarly to a house made of cards. It all starts from the base and the small businesses, who will likely have the most trouble surviving. Then it’ll keep going higher and higher, until it reaches the top.
It’s at this time that phrases such as “health is our number one priority” are being truly tried and tested for governments and corporations. Because when global leaders publicly state that “…there may be some casualties due to this disease and that is something we may need to come to terms with”, it’s like they’ve chosen to make that sacrifice for us in order to keep the economy flowing. Because there is another option. We’ve seen it with our own eyes.
In China and the city Wuhan (ground zero for the coronavirus) all public activity was stopped by the local communist government. No one has been walking on the streets for weeks, everyone has been placed in quarantine and it is illegal for people to even take a step outside their own premises. Yes, it might sound like they’ve been imprisoned inside their own homes by their own leaders, but it is for the common well-being. All public areas have been vaccinated, everything has been meticulously scrubbed and cleaned, to the point where even during this crisis, you would be willing to eat off the streets! The number of their infected has gone down from the thousands every day to simply eleven on Saturday! It’s still a significant number, but nowhere near the record-breaking amounts they were showing before. Which means they have things under control. They know how to beat it and have shown us the way.
But that way is entirely too costly for governments such as the UK, the US and Australia, who only seem willing to go that far if the number of casualties actually does get out of hand. Whether we like it or not, the economy comes first. And we cannot really blame them for doing so. After all, putting the lives of a few hundred people (mainly older in age) on a scale against the financial well-being of most of the nation is what a leader is elected to do. So that’s what they’ve done.
It is up to us to choose whether we agree with them on their decision or not.