This post is part of my 30 blogs in 30 days series. More details here.
It is a common occurrence to hear that everyone will get COVID. From Self-styled Iconoclasts shock jocks to Business Leaders to health officials to world leaders, have either stated it in so many words, or have downplayed further spread of the disease. They say this not because they believe this. That would be ignoring countries like Taiwan and New Zealand. This is just a ploy to cover their failures as leaders.
This pandemic is not just a crisis of health, but it has exposed a crisis of global leadership. There is a no leader that has escaped unscathed, whether it’s heads of states, business leaders. Lets take this assertion at face value. Lets use publicized fatality rate 2%, at 7.79 Billion, this means over 155 Million people dead. Total number of deaths, as per WHO, was 58 Million. World and Business leaders waving this off like a minor nuisance is testament to their lack of commitment.
The fatality rate is not 2%. According to Johns Hopkins, it is just above 5%. 1 in 20 people will die, over the coming year, if ‘Everyone gets the disease’ and if ‘We just wait for a vaccine’. COVID19 does not care how bad your economy is, how it impacts your votes in the coming elections, what lobbyist you pay or listen to. Millions will die, because our leaders are too busy electioneering, profiteering, or just trying to maintain there feeble strongman images.
COVID has shown us the biggest vulnerabilities of Democracies and Dictatorships, alike. Authoritarians like Putin and Modi, and wannabes like Trump and Bolsanaro, are flailing helplessly in front of an enemy they can’t defeat by propaganda and intimidation. Its an enemy they can’t fathom. Democratic institutions have not fared any better. The crisis also displays a huge vulnerability of modern republics; people. Misinformed people. These people aren’t misinformed by choice. They are victims of a media apparatus designed to keep them docile or bombard them with so much info as to make it impossible to filter. This is so, because Democracies are run by politician who can only see till the next election cycle. Incapable of long term thinking, they have destroyed public trust. When they needed the public to trust it, the system failed.
The biggest victim has been Capitalism. Crypto-Donald-Trump, Elon Musk has been the most notable culprit, but his businesses already had a terrible reputation with regards to safety. Jeff Bezos, the richest man on the planet, could not provide a safe environment for workers, while also expecting them to show up for work. People who spoke out were fired. Gig economy startups, already a cesspool of unsustainable business practices, have been especially egregious. Instacart faced a strike, and is fighting local level legislation that mandates hazard pay for its workers. All while having the biggest quarter of its history. People point to retail failures in the US, but the US Fed has spent over $2 trillion dollars buying corporate debt. These businesses did not have the cash to sustain because they spent it all on stock buybacks. They should be left to fail!
There is none. We fell for charlatans, idiots, the senile, and narcissists. The stock at the top will take decades to cull, thanks to advancements in Medical science. Decades that we might not have, given the even bigger climate crises we will face.