A scan through headlines every morning gives me a sense of doom, a flashback of dystopian and pre-apocalyptic books I’ve read throughout the years.
Whether aliens, nuclear weapons, biotech destruction–all the books have one thing in common with this coronavirus: mass hysteria.
I wasn’t going to write about this pandemic, I had another post in mind, one with less drama and dread and with an update about my writing. But… this virus is spreading around the world like an ill wind, and suddenly our big, wide world shrank in size and nowhere is far enough.
People dying by the thousands, restrictions, bans, price gouging, quarantines, talk of judgment day and all the finger pointing on who’s the cause. I read the headlines, and I feel half caught in the world of fantasy. It makes me wonder when this pandemic ends, will the blame and accusations without the fear evolve into raging anger and take us to the next step: World war?
People try to underplay the coronavirus by saying it’s just a virus with flu characteristics. It’s a virus, indeed, and as virus do, they infect and they spread. Only this one is highly contagious with a (high?) mortality rate that differs from place to place.
People wonder whose fault it is, where exactly did it start? It could have started in the jungle, in the market, in a pot plant, it could have escaped a lab, a cave, or attached to a person in a flight from place to place. These speculations, at least in the moment, are doing no one any favor. Regardless where it started, it started, it’s spreading, and there’s no end in sight.
We, humanity, have seen pandemics before–The Bubonic Plague, The Red and Yellow Fever, The Spanish Flu–to name but a few. Those have killed millions, if one dare read the accounts, and it took years for them to end (and I’m not counting the occasional appearances still happening), but they didn’t travel as swiftly as this coronavirus. The difference? This last virus is taking advantage of technology. Long ago, it took months for a virus to reach another continent, today, it takes hours.
Every politician and doctor and people who is who got up and told people not to panic. They go on TV and teach the common folk basic hygiene lessons we learned as children–how to sneeze, cough, eat healthy, and they expect that’s enough to keep people calm. In turn it caused shortages of cleaning supplies, sanitizers, and what not, and people are panicking regardless. Coughing and sneezing? That’s become the new threat to humanity. If someone coughs in public, people scatter in fear.
Enterprises and every commerce are afraid of the impact of the virus in their economy, and so the country wouldn’t lose money, they failed to keep their citizens safe. Every country decided to wait and see if the virus would reach them before taking measures, so that their stock shares and economy wouldn’t suffer. But, it did suffer, because once the virus was in, it spread like fire on dry kindling. Whether they were aware or not that it was too late then is hard to tell, but their economy is suffering more for their failure in keeping the virus out.
I’m not sure how this is going to end, or how many months or years it will take, but the way things are looking, it’ll definitely get worse before it gets better. Maybe people have considered this, maybe they haven’t – but with a virus that has spread in a few months worldwide, infected over a hundred thousand (that we know) killed thousands…. well, at this rate, it’s going to keep on going until most, if not all the world, have been infected. Whether by then a treatment will be found, or if people will be vaccined or not remains to be seen.
With this grim note, I’ll end this post with prayers that this pandemic ends soon, with no more elements of the fantasy books I’ve read (they didn’t end well for humanity).