Covid 19 has changed the world. We’ve all woken up on the other side of the looking glass. Freedoms we have always taken for granted gone overnight. The feeling of being safe gone with them. All from one virus. Our way of life just wasn’t built for this. Like a well fortified castle, once the outer walls were breached, we had little or no defence left. These things are supposed to stay in Asia or Africa. Something for us to watch on the news. Covid 19 is very much here now.
One of the biggest problems we have is that much of the world is governed by populists. People who will say whatever is likely to make them popular. They got away with this for a while but their actions now will only prolong the virus. Donald Trump seems genuinely surprised that he can’t decide that a drug works. That’s what we are dealing with.
Leaders so deluded that they think they know more than doctors. America is heading for further disaster. Much of the blame will lie on Trumps door step. The half-arsed approach is actually the worst of all. Economic ruination from lockdown which is then lifted too early leading to only a slight delay in disaster. It’s probably worse than no lockdown at all.
Our Lockdown has been successful. The problem is getting out of it. There is a lot of talk now of getting back to a ‘new normal’. Leaving aside the fact that you can’t go back to something that is new, what might this new normal look like? The stock markets think we will see a V shaped recovery and everything will be grand by September. The stock markets should never have been allowed to think. Greed can be blind to reality. Greed can be uncaring. In this case greed doesn’t care whether we live or die. But we do.
And that is why the new normal won’t be normal at all. The vast majority of people will not willingly risk their own lives or those of their loved ones. Many childminders will not take that chance. And it’s not as if they will get danger money. A lot of people will not go to restaurants, the cinema or anywhere else that poses a risk.
The new normal will not be a recovery. It will be a self-imposed continuation of lockdown with economic activity greatly reduced. Those less careful will bring on flare ups of Covid 19 which will lead to further state-imposed lockdowns. Areas that become virus free will group isolate. Visitors will be a threat. Welcomes will be rare. Holidays will be a fairytale to tell our kids about. Until we get a vaccine.
It usually takes over ten years for a vaccine to get to market. There are a lot of good reasons for this. Vaccines have been one of the greatest healthcare advances in human history. They have saved countless lives. But there is opposition. There seems to be opposition to everything these days.
Much of the opposition stems from conspiracy types with too much time on their hands. And too little education and sense. Diseases like Measles are still around despite excellent vaccines being available because of these people. A rushed Covid 19 vaccine could undermine confidence in all vaccines. This would be unthinkably bad. We’d be faced with multiple diseases returning. The death toll would be astronomical.
Any Covid 19 vaccine needs to be tested properly and be effective. The whole world might take this vaccine. Imagine if there was an unforeseen side effect? It could be the end of us. The Trumps of this world are actively working against us by trumping up any potential drug or vaccine and rushing them to market. To use his own term, the cure should not be worse than the disease. His undermining of the World Health Organisation during a pandemic is equally dangerous.
We are at a hugely important time in human history and there are any number of roads we could go down. The best hope we have is to hunker down and wait for a real vaccine. Until then the ‘new normal’ will be our lives. There are no easy populist ways out of this.