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[Listen to an audio version of this blog entry here.]
Each year throws up its surprises that catch us off guard, leave us badly exposed. From a global perspective, this year has, um, trumped them all since, arguably, the end of World War II.
Along came a relatively mild, easily transmitted virus from the east that overwhelmed much of the world, save for a few savvy Asia-Pacific countries. It’s not like those who are meant to be calling the shots weren’t warned, however. Larry Brilliant, for one, had been sounding the alarm bells well over a decade ago — if only we’d listened and taken heed.
We didn’t. Leaders and public health officials in heretofore respected “developed” nations showed their complete lack of preparedness for something that, despite what they like to tell us, is not ‘unprecedented’. Pandemics are nothing new.
Of course, the unprecedented nature of coronavirus has been how those nations reacted to what is, mercifully, not a terribly lethal killer for the vast majority of the population. Initial inaction was and continues to be followed by overreaction.
What’s more, the best comedy writers in the world couldn’t have come up with some of the contradictory, unfathomable measures that have been imposed on the masses in order to curb the spread of the virus.
‘Instead of continuing to play fast and loose with the lives of so many whilst enjoying six-figure sums in their own comfortable bubbles, our leaders should be in the Hague for crimes against humanity.’
In Ireland, for example, they’ve had restrictions on the number of households that can mix contrasted with children going to school where they mingle with an untold number of others.
Then there’s the fact that you can have an alcoholic beverage in a public establishment as long as you’re eating something with it. A pint of beer in a pub without a meal that costs over nine euros is a big no-no.
As most epidemiologists will tell you, coronavirus doesn’t like those flashy types who dine out — “he” is a more modest character. Those having nothing more than a liquid lunch, though, prime targets. It would seem our microscopic visitor is more intelligent than most of our leaders.
Making a killing
It’s a tad amusing listening to and reading about all this from a relatively relaxed Colombia. The powers-that-be here seem to have come to the conclusion that while deaths attributed to covid-19 will continue there are so many other life-or-death issues to contend with that we just have to get on with things. The coronavirus monomania that had afflicted Colombia’s leaders in the early days of the pandemic appears to have subsided somewhat.
You see, death comes to us in a variety of ways. When our governments and health officials overly focus on one aspect, the result is that other life-taking conditions prosper.
So, while we can chuckle from afar at the incompetents imposing absurd, harmful restrictions in my home country and elsewhere, there are very serious elements to it. The mortgaging away of the futures of our young and active ages, the countless — as opposed to the very much “counted” deaths attributed to covid-19 — life years lost, the deepening of the divide between the haves and have nots.
Instead of continuing to play fast and loose with the lives of so many whilst enjoying six-figure sums in their own comfortable bubbles these leaders, Messrs Johnson, Macron, Martin, Varadkar et al., should be in The Hague for crimes against humanity.
Maybe that’s one pleasant surprise 2021 can bring us. One can only hope.
Listen to Wrong Way’s Colombia Cast podcast here.