A personal COVID-19 perspective (Part 1 of 2)

STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete (The Freeman) - January 19, 2021 - 12:00am

As of 4:35 pm CET (Central European Time), 17 January 2021, there have been 93,194,922 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,014,729 deaths, reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). The death of two million people worldwide may not look that significant when compared to much higher casualties in previous health-related global incidents and wars and other military conflicts. But COVID-19 literally changed the world today and man’s way of life as we knew it.

In terms of pandemics, historically, the 1918-1920 Spanish Flu has always been considered the worst, with an estimated 50 million deaths. That’s the generally accepted average estimate, apparently recording was not that accurate a century ago. As far as wars are concerned, World War II had the highest, also around 50 million deaths. We must be careful with comparing actual deaths, however, because they are relative to the actual world population at that time.

There are other causes of death coming from plagues and pestilence just as there may be other deadly wars in the past. The two world wars stand out basically because they affected the entire world rather than specific regional conflicts. The development of science and medicine certainly affects how deadly pandemics can be, which is why these can be better contained. Two million COVID-19 deaths seems small historically and that’s because the world is better equipped to fight it.

But why does COVID-19 seem to unduly change the entire human race’s way of life? I’m not a medical professional so my understanding is limited to knowledge in transmissibility statistics and exponential growth rates. COVID-19 is extremely transmissible and the only reason why we only have these death statistics so far is the implementation of the health protocols all over the world that directly changed the way we live. That is why the changes had been so drastic, locking us up in ways we never imagined before. Nor were these ever implemented before, too.

The costs have been dire. Changing the way we live has resulted in disrupting work procedures, transportation and mobility, personal meetings and mass gatherings, and the way we interact on personal or business levels. It has affected economic transactions causing the world and national economies to take precarious dives to levels never experienced before. Millions and millions of jobs were lost, poverty levels skyrocketed, and food shortages threatened many populations. We could have prevented this but that would have meant multiplying the deaths many times over. It’s a difficult choice, and a moral one – having a better way of life by allowing more to die. Who will make the choice? Will you?

The worst thing is - this isn’t the last pandemic and scientists confirmed worse ones may come. As man continues destroying natural habitats, worse and more virulent vectors and pathogens will evolve to threaten humanity. They’re not speculating, they’re talking of certainty. If we are disrupted now, we will more be in the future. It’s a wake-up call for a better life philosophy, to seek a better lifestyle and way of living, to determine what’s important and what isn’t and fleeting. Man is at a crossroads; we need to look forward as well as back and make a decision. (To be continued)

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