As the world begins to recover from the plague of the last few months, it is clear that things will have to change and the world we knew will never be the same. This week, I continue with the three-part series that I began last week on the change that planet Earth is experiencing, man’s role in it and nature’s response. As I stated last week, the COVID-19 pandemic is looking more deadly, more destructive and, to many medical scientists, like a mirage. This is one enemy that cannot be seen with ordinary eyes. The virus in its attack is not wasting any time in moving around the world, killing humans, killing businesses, killing industries and killing economies. The physiological and medical fights are one thing, though they are baffling enough. But the greatest weapon of this virus is its economic warfare. It is waging this particular war directly and by proxy too.
It incapacitates the victim, if it does not kill you, for upwards of a month, enough time to make you lose your job or small business. But to stop or slow its spread, leaders and healthcare workers have instructed and advised people to shelter indoors, abhor large gatherings of five or more people, cease religious worships, sporting activities, leisure activities, shopping of any kind except online shopping, desist from external dining except for take-aways, observe social distancing even at home or in your car. They said to forget going to the movies, nail and hair salons, and massage parlours. Social gatherings are also banned, including weddings, naming ceremonies, birthdays, burials, club meetings, administrative meetings of five or more people, and business meetings, except for a few persons of five or less.
So many politicians are finding out that partisanship cannot be applied in attending to this virus. For a rare period, all politicians are in favour of eradicating this virus as quickly as possible. As I write this column, another rare agreement coming from everywhere is containment as was started by China and Italy, being some of the worst affected countries so far. Containment is achieved by isolation of cities and towns with movement lockdowns and travel bans. Because people are not going to work or socialising, neither are they leaving their homes, no one is driving or flying. Consequently, oil prices have crashed. Most companies are laying off workers, closing branches, declaring bankruptcy, mothballing, or simply suspending operations.
The above scenarios are the current realities in this world of ours. We are taking these steps so that the SARS-CoV-2 will not take a good part of the global population in a few years. If the virus is not defeated, there will be little of us left on Planet Earth; billions could expire and those that will survive may resolve to build a new and better relationship with all the living creatures on Earth. Have we noticed that the rest of the creatures on Earth are not being attacked by the virus? We the humans share Planet Earth with many other creatures. I, for one, live in a farm within a forest environment. So, I share the farm and garden with so many other creatures. From my observation, these other creatures do not seem to be affected by this virus. Considering that all the other living creatures are a lot more than we humans are, the virus would have had plenty of hosts to choose from. But also considering that most of the living creatures were on this planet before we arrived, could we be dealing with the fact that these creatures are now immune to SARS-CoV-2? Perhaps a study of their immune system might help us in this war. The ecosystems of the world are meant to co-exist with one another, according to some unwritten laws. Ability to cross other ecosystems could be, and are generally seen as, evidence of evolution into stronger species or a superior genus. We must remember that we humans need all the other creatures more than they need us, yet we have willingly and unwittingly carried out acts that have harmed other creatures and driven some of them into extinction.
Momentarily, our way of life is under assault by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is as clear as day and night to every human being on earth that we do not know as yet the best way to beat back this attack. We are throwing everything at it. This appears to be a war that, if not contained and stopped, may bring the human race close to extinction. People have predicted that it may be the end of us on earth because of the speed of invasion and conquest of nations. The virus is taking lives, destroying economies, and rendering religious institutions ineffective. This coronavirus has taken on the three most important components of the human race. Thus far, the military capabilities of the world are of no use in this pandemic war. Since the end of World War II, many countries around the world have been preparing for war deterrents or worse still, the next World War. They have invested trillions of dollars in nuclear arsenals, bombs and missiles that can travel guided or unguided for thousands of kilometres across continents. We have had the East against the West, Israelis preparing for the Arabs, Iran preparing for Israel. North Korea that cannot feed its people was also preparing for Trump’s America. In all of these, Libya and South Africa were the only countries that gave up on their nuclear arsenal. Before then, the latter had enough nuclear arsenal that could, and planned to level the rest of the continent of Africa, take it over, rebuild it, and turn it into a homeland. Fortunately, the opposition from the rest of the world and the sanctions against the apartheid system changed everything.
But with all the available nuclear arsenal of the many nations, COVID-19 rendered them vulnerable. An unexpected attack that the greatest might did not predict nor prepare for, one they could barely defend themselves against. I can see a lot of debates in the coming months between conservatives and liberals of many nations on the need to reduce funding of the military and invest more in health. Until another attack from nature forces us to have a new debate.
At the moment, nations of the world are throwing their economic might towards the pursuit of vaccines and curative medicines against the virus, as well as the provision of economic stimulus to citizens and businesses affected by the national lockdowns. So far, results are mixed and still being evaluated. Of particular mention here is that our vaunted religions that have been known to predict the end of and conquer enemies have not been able to stop this virus yet. And, sadly, we have situations where some of these religious institutions are endangering the lives of their congregants by insisting on holding services in defiance of social distancing directives. Others have been reduced to peddling conspiracy theories about the origins of the virus that have turned their followers into arsonists and pawns in the game of death from COVID-19. Nigeria seems to be an alien nation in this fight in all manner of engagements. Though hardly surprising, given our poor ratings in governance, research and innovation, and resources management, this is shameful and appalling. Even Madagascar is now a leader in alternative medical research for the cure of COVID-19!
Indeed, these are tough times for humans, our ideologies and our policies, but not so much for nature.
To be continued….