What COVID is doing to us

The COVID-19 pandemics is indeed changing much of what Humanity is doing. Yes, there is more life online than ever before - but not everybody has access to it. There are also many dangers to our civilization that so far people are trying not to dwell on...

Case 1: In Argentina, Cristina fernandez de Kirchner (Past President and current Vice President) in her role as President of the Senate is presiding over the Senate debates online AND administers the software. She has been muting her oponents during debates and allowing only her followers to speak. I know the case of Argentina, but I take it as a cautionary tale about preserving Democracy.

Case 2: In many countries around the world, governments are using law enforcement agencies and military to enforce shutdowns. In many of these places people are feeling like they are living in a state of Siege. Another cautionary tale.

Case 3: In some countries economic survival is given priority over preserving the lives of the citizens (Sweden comes to mind). Another cautionary tale.

Case 4: As people get (understandably) scared of what is happening, some politicians in the extremes (right and left) are taking advantage to stir people up for/against policies - thus reinforcing the polarizing trends that already existed pre-COVID.

Case 5: International solidarity is in some ways dissapearing. A handful of rich societies have secured the supply of prospectives vaccines through the end of 2021. When a non profit based in London appealed to the international community to work together to ensure the supply of vaccines for sub-Saharan Africa, where some of the poorest societies exist, they were rebuffed. Each country is out for itself on this one.

Case 6: Not really a case but a comment... The science of this pandemics identified the origin of the problem in a virus jumping from animals to humans in newly-developed areas of China. In the past, other epidemics were traced to similar phenomena in the Amazons, and scientists are warning that the melting of the permafrost in Siberia as a consequence of Global Climate Change is reawakening diseases which have been suposedly long defeated. It all points out to the possibility that we may be reaching (or already reached) the limit of how much Human population our planet can sustain. In the past, Europe went through a similar phase: Before the Black Plague, European resources were being stretched to the limit; the population reduction of almost 60% of the European population as a consequence of the plague was catastrophic, and it was also provoked by a mutated virus, in this case from rats. This time is not Europe. Is the world.

In times of serious crises, people become scared and do many things they would not do in regular times, especially when the crisis is something they cannot control such as an epidemic. But it can happen also with less serious issues, such an organizational or social crisis. In every one of those situations, in my opinion, the important thing is to remain focused on the goals.

The current pandemic will still stay with us for at least 6 months; it is important that we don't let our crisis mode overrule our thinking cap. The urgent needs cannot ignore the long term goals; if they do, we'll pay for it down the road and we may not like the price. And we will have nobody to blame but ourselves.



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