It seems that the coronavirus, named Covid-19 has spooked the world. It has become the bogeyman of the 21st century. At first, it frightened the medical profession at the way it rapidly spread and killed people. They, in turn, spooked the governments all over the world to take drastic measures to go into various degrees of lockdown. It has been nothing but a socio-economic disaster for most countries. And the way the media continues to report this virus infection is causing further unnecessary panic, chaos and confusion among the public.
In my previous article titled “Corona- The Making of the Bogeyman”, I pointed out how a spooked mind is incapable of rational thinking. I also pointed out how a bureaucratic mind is also incapable of such thought. So it is clear to me that a frightened bureaucratic person would be doubly incapable of making any rational decision. This fact is evident from what we have seen in the bureaucratic action taken by governments all over the world.
What dismays and disappoints me most is the medical profession and the role it is playing. It is supposed to look after the physical and mental health of people yet is helping the government to create people’s life more miserable. They do not seem to appreciate the fact that saving lives at all cost is not the only thing that matters. One has to take into account the socio-economic costs into our decision making; otherwise, our actions become counterproductive and irresponsible. Millions of people have lost their jobs, and millions of businesses have gone out of business. How can we ignore the mental and physical side effects on the population of government bureaucratic action which creates poverty? Poverty becomes fertile ground for an increase in crime, violence, drug abuse and suicides etc. Please remember that the brunt of all these measures is born by private individuals, not government employees who are mostly financially unaffected.
In my mind, I regard the lockdown as an inhumane action. To lockup people living in tall towers for six weeks is like sentencing them to solitary confinement in their cells. Also, how can we justify locking up people on a cruise ship for days for no fault of their own, just because they have a case of coronavirus on board? Lockdown can only be justified if the measures we take kills or eliminates the virus; otherwise we are only grabbing the tiger by the tail.
If we examine all the measures we have taken so far, we will find that they are panic measures. They do not eliminate or kill the virus. The lockdown only slows down the spread of the virus. It is the nature of all virus infections to spread. So once we lift the lockdown, this virus is going to spread. The infection curve has to rise. We have to appreciate the fact that this coronavirus is here to stay, and we will have to learn to live with it in the same way as we are doing with the influenza virus.
So what does the future hold for us? Do we go into lockdown every time the infection curve rises? Do we shut down our schools and workplaces whenever someone is tested positive? Do we remain spooked and be subjected to some bureaucratic control until we find a cure?
It is easy for countries with a relatively small and sparse population like Australia and New Zealand to claim success in managing this virus with lockdown measures. However, in densely populated countries with large populations like India and Europe, it is undoubtedly not a practical proposition.
Thus there has to be a better way of managing this problem. If I found myself in an outback country town and a case of coronavirus presented to me for treatment, I ask myself, what would I do? Having no diagnostic facility available to me, I would have treated that patient, in the same way as I would have treated a case of influenza. Would this have resulted in any different outcome for my patient or me?
One can see that all this testing for the virus in the population may be academically desirable; however, the way the media reports it should be a matter of concern for all of us who are trying to improve our mental health. It is spooking the public and causing unnecessary anxiety and alarm.
Perhaps we can learn from our animal friends how they manage to live peacefully with all the predators around them since the beginning of time. If we look at the buffalos and the lions, we see that the lions spook the buffaloes by chasing them. Once the lions catch the weakest one, the buffaloes stop running. They start grazing in a relaxed way, knowing that the lions will not be attacking them until they are hungry again. They do not remain spooked.
I regard all the viruses lurking in our atmosphere as predators waiting to pounce on us like the hungry lions and tigers. Usually, a healthy individual will resist a virus infection depending on the strength of one’s immune system. But once any mental or physical factors weaken our immune system, we can become prey to any such virus. Thus the onus is on every individual in society to maintain a level of fitness which will protect the person.
However, we have do-gooders in society who want to save us from ourselves like the medical profession and the government. They want to show us and prove to us that they can save human lives, no matter what the cost. There is, of course, a political motive in all this. No one wants to die, so no one is going to object to someone who is going to protect us. How can anyone object to such a noble cause when one is saving lives? Politicians and the medical profession become our heroes, and they get our votes.
Yes, it is relatively easy to save lives and become heroes if we think in a bureaucratic way and ignore the negative consequences of our action. But there are higher responsibilities attached to the jobs of our medical and political leaders than just trying to save human lives if they cared to think about Suppose you are in charge of a rescue boat overloaded with people. You know that if you take one more person aboard, the boat is going to tip over and sink. There are people in the sea still begging to be rescued. Do you have a choice? Please think. Will you feel like a hero? Do you still believe in saving life at whatever the cost?
As I see it, we have to come to terms with the coronavirus and treat it in the same way as the influenza virus. The world cannot afford to remain spooked. In my mind, there is no such thing as the future. The future is what we create through the actions we take in the present. If we take no action now, our present becomes the future.