Coronavirus: The Unlearnt Lessons?

Global-scale problems require global-scale solutions. The UN and its subsidiary bodies, which are the only existing intergovernmental mechanisms for global decision making and action, are toothless (by design). They rely on the goodwill and cooperation of nation-states that, in their own self-interest, can easily stymie a global agenda.

The Paris Climate Accord is a thumping example of such a debacle. Do we need true global governance to solve humanity’s largest challenges? Some political analysts predict a global, democratic government in the next 200 years after all other options have failed.

The Coronavirus Crisis should have been treated similarly to WWII. It has affected every country on the planet. It has had major impacts on every country, its economies, and its citizens. The petty politicking was of no help at all. Have we learned nothing from the AIDS epidemic, the errors the most advanced countries made that prevented proper research and treatment for most of the 1980s? Illnesses don’t care about a country’s or a planet’s economy. Illnesses have no interest in one’s economic status, education, skin color, religion, sexual preferences, or politics. Those are human issues. All illnesses care about is spreading themselves around to ensure their survival. And even that is an anthropomorphism of what happens. None of this is about virtuous behavior. It’s about protecting yourself, your family, your friends, your coworkers, and yes, your community. As Donne put it: No man is an island entire of itself. That applies to this situation and others we face in the modern world. Globalization is not just another word added recently to the lexicon but has profound meanings from getting closer together to taking collective global actions.

Perhaps the deadliest virus, the Smallpox, in history was eradicated in the World’s population in the last 50 years or so. We did this through a global effort to vaccinate everyone, not just in the advanced, but in the entire world. However, given the Covid-19, we lack the will to actually do anything global about a global pandemic. And that is pitiful but true.

Alarmingly, almost every major country with a military establishment has or is doing research on biological warfare agents, some of which have the potential to wipe out the human race. Yet nothing is being done and nothing is being discussed to address this serious threat. The international community has worked to control nuclear weapons, but no similar effort has been made to control biological agents of mass destruction. Coronavirus, whatever its origin, should be a wake-up call, but unfortunately most of our global leaders, if they can be called such, are still very much asleep or are in common disagreement. We can’t even agree on reducing fossil fuels. The ongoing expansion of climate catastrophes currently beyond our “marvelous” computer models clearly demonstrates an inability for Homo sapiens to even grasp the issue.

Political interests have wreaked further havoc. It’s not a shock that people act counter to their best interests. Here we are in the fourth wave of Covid. You would think wave one was enough. A number of countries took heed immediately and their citizens have suffered less as a result. But no, not the US, Brazil, or India. Their “strongmen” made the communicable disease a political issue. Responsible countries are now experiencing the backwash of our unvax’ed stupidity. When the plague was ravishing Europe in the mid-14 century, cats were ordered killed because they were believed to be the familiars of witches causing the disease. Yersinia pests are carried by the fleas of rats. The cats held down the rat population. Without them, things got worse very quickly. What “cats” are we slaying today that could mitigate Covid? Could the delta variant’s evil brother emerge while we dither away time debating who can tell you to wear a mask or get a shot? We’ll find out. The problem is when we do, it’ll be too late to do anything about it.

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