By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai
No country in the world is expecting to be spared and every country except perhaps China, South Korea, and some Asian countries, is waiting to reach the “explosion” level, the peak which represents the highest death rate of COVID-19, known as Coronavirus, after which the curve of new casualties will start sliding down. This is when world leaders will have to make the decision for most societies to regain normality even though the virus will still be around for many months to come. Precautionary procedures of high sanitation standards and social distancing will always be advised, particularly among the elderly and the most affected people. Still, the economy needs to return to its ordinary course sooner or later, notwithstanding the enormous losses.
On the 10th of March, the Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the city of Wuhan, in the province of Hubei, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak and declared that the situation was under control: “success has been achieved in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan”, he said. The Chinese President never mentioned the virus was over but that COVID-19 was under control. China has accepted its casualties and will be able to deal with the flow of new cases and will no longer be subject to a flood of severe cases being rushed to hospitals and overwhelming medical staff.
In fact, this is what European leaders will have to decide between the month of May (for some businesses most crucial to the economy) and the month of June (for all others). It will depend on which countries reach the Coronavirus explosion level and start to come down the curve to reach a much lower level of dozens of casualties per day, rather than the hundreds and thousands, happening in the US and Europe right now.
Governments cannot afford irreparable damage to their domestic economies and will have to call for a return to productivity. The population can’t afford to be at home for so many regularly prolonged two-week quarantine periods. This is the period that was initially imposed on the community at the outset, and it seems it will be renewed regularly until casualties are reduced.
The loss of income to families and individuals is so far estimated at between $860 billion and $3.4 trillion worldwide. The losses to the travel industry are estimated at between $30 to $60 billion. Failure of trade in goods and services will amount to $320 billion per quarter of trade disruption.
Many people relied on part-time earnings with little savings and were caught by surprise in this pandemic crisis. But societies will eventually be happy to return to work with COVID-19 around and live with it. The reason is simple: no medicine will be available before the end of the year 2020. Therefore, there would be no point in imposing an endless quarantine that lasts until a solution for the Coronavirus is found- particularly when most scientists estimate that COVID-19 may infect between 80% and 85% of the population but are either unaware or only showing mild symptoms. These have an immune system capable of fighting the virus and could return to be productive in their respective societies. Having faced and dealt with the tsunami of cases rushing to hospitals, the medical staff, after the slowing down of the number of cases, will be able to offer medical support to newly infected people.
The elderly and the young, and persons with critical medical history (obesity, heart attacks, cholesterol, pulmonary infections, high blood pressure, and inadequate immune systems) will be still asked to minimise their movements. Their families and friends will also be recommended to take the necessary precautions when meeting each other and those prone to the virus in order to avoid being the contributor transmitting the virus to them. Governments will have the time to provide enough tests for the entire population and to improve their medical systems and equipment so as to avoid future flooding of hospitals and the exhaustion of the medical personnel (which is what is happening today in many countries reaching the explosion of the virus spread).
Distance learning and working from home will be developed: the world is quite likely to be exposed to other, future viruses or the return of the COVID-19 before an antidote is found. Imposing quarantine with every new virus would mean the population spending years at home: the economy would never recover.
During the spread of the pandemic, people acknowledged that their dear ones were dying, or would die, and that little could be done to defeat this unknown virus. Also, due to their fear for their own lives, people were forced to accept the fact that their national medical system had failed them, even in the most advanced western societies (Europe, Canada, Australia and the United States of America) or on any other continent. The population faced the possibility of not being able to be present at funerals to mourn their relatives and bury them- for fear for their own lives. And President Donald Trump believes that the prospect of 200,000 Americans deceased from Coronavirus represents “a good job” for his administration in containing the pandemic.
Once the storm has abated, people will want to question their leaders about their performance and the failure of planning to prevent the arrival of the worst-case scenario. Societies will criticise the reasons offered during the explosion of the pandemic why not enough tests were made available to all people to rapidly prevent the deterioration of all the individual cases. No country was indeed prepared for such a Tsunami: thousands of cases with weak immune systems being rushed simultaneously to hospitals. Also, no hospital in the world could provide enough beds to accommodate the tens of thousands of cases. There was a shortage of respiratory systems to meet the numbers involved and save lives.
These handicaps had to be accepted during the outbreak of the virus. However, many leaders will have to be held accountable, and even disappear, once the panic dissipates. It is just unacceptable that developed countries spend hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ money on warfare, waging wars overseas or investing in sending military troops abroad, but fail to equip, maintain and dynamise their national medical system. This “economic strategy” makes them responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.
Europe is not finally expected to stay divided, but the virus has created collateral damage. A good lesson was learned by member countries of the EU like Italy, who can no longer see China and Russia as enemies. In moments of need, these countries, including Cuba, rushed to help Rome even though the Italian government had imposed sanctions on Moscow. The “most powerful nation,” the US, failed to fulfil its role and did not respond to the needs of its supposed allies on the European continents until very late. France and Germany waited for many weeks before supporting Italy, the country that was most hit after China and was left alone in the eye of the storm when most in need. The Italian President Sergio Mattarella asked the EU to correct its behaviour before irreparable damage occurred to the EU institution because Italy was left alone to face the explosion of the pandemic.
China and Russia are both coming out winners. A few Italians recorded themselves, raising the Chinese flag and lowering the European flag, but China is not offering itself as a substitute for US hegemony but as a strategic partner. Russia also, like China, aimed at the hearts of the population and apparently has no policy of dominance comparable to that of the US. The Kremlin offered its help (100 virologists and tons of medical supplies were offered to Italy) unconditionally, and Rome was not pressured to lift its sanctions.
In contrast, the US refused to help Europe in the first weeks of the Coronavirus outbreak, imposing new sanctions on Iran amid the pandemic, offering a reward of $15 million for Venezuelan President Maduro and threatening to wage war on Iraqi security forces Kataeb Hezbollah. There was no human compassion from the US towards its opponents, like Iran, harshly hit by a pandemic. The current US warmongering administration is unable to change or to express empathy towards other human beings. They cannot see, understand, or adapt to the fact that this enemy is global and is making no distinctions within humankind.
A COVID-19 antidote will not be available soon. But there is little doubt that governments will take a different approach to medical readiness in the future. It is equally sure that allies will be reshuffled and that world dominance will no longer be the same when governments regain control after the pandemic. The world before COVID-19 will not be the same as that after COVID-19. The virus will be living among us and within us, waiting in silence for months and years to come.
Proofread by: Maurice Brasher and C.G.B
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