Governments absolutely understood what would be at stake if another ‘Spanish Flu’ were to strike our complex civilization. They had SARS and MERS as shots across the bow.
Yet leaders in major nations dismissed the Wuhan Virus as a nothing burger even while Wuhan was in total lockdown and the news was leaking videos showing people lying dead in hospital hallways.
Most governments took zero action or worse, in the case of Boris it was ‘we’ll invite it into the UK and go for herd immunity.’ Wuhan initially went down that road and it didn’t work so well. The city quickly became a living hell as tens of thousands of infected citizens were unable to obtain medical care.
As the virus spread outside of China, our leaders have continued to be nonchalant and constantly behind the curve. Even after Wuhan Virus infections were confirmed in Australia, the PM was telling the people to ‘continue to attend sporting matches.’ Trump insisted that the US had this under control, and it would be eliminated in a matter of days.
In all countries, there are very powerful people who are not in elected office who have enormous influence. The big banks and other major corporations and their legions of lobbyists surely would not stand still and accept buffoonery. They fund the political campaigns, so they pull a lot of strings.
At the end of the day, they (and we) stand to lose everything if this situation is not handled properly. They will fight like ravenous dogs over a bone to ensure that every effort is made to stop this plague.
Rather than blame this bungled response to the Wuhan Virus on incompetence, stupidity or some hidden agenda, perhaps we need to look for other reasons.
Might a better explanation not be that those in control, including the politicians, understand that when something as virulent as the Wuhan Virus strikes, it’s akin to contracting terminal cancer. You can apply palliative measures, but there is no stopping it, it must run its course.
Might our leaders be making half-hearted gestures at containing the virus to present the appearance of ‘doing something’ and giving people hope?
Case in point, how many ‘vaccine breakthrough’ headlines have we seen, some coming out in February just a few short weeks after the virus was acknowledged. A great many people don’t read beyond the headlines but if they did, they would know a vaccine is not coming anytime soon if at all.
Here’s another hopium-laced vaccine headline that dropped yesterday. It is full of promise until you get to the end where the virologists state that ‘even if the vaccine passes animal trials it’s a minimum 18 months before this can be considered for human use.’
Meanwhile governments and central banks move heaven and earth to try to hold the global economy together, a truly Sisyphean task, buying time hoping that the virus might burn out.
I am looking at New Zealand, a sparsely populated nation, where yesterday we had almost 90 new infections (a new record). This country has been in total lockdown for 10 days.
Almost every person in the grocery stores, the only public places that are open other than hospitals, is wearing a mask and disposable gloves. Yet the infection totals continue to mount.
This ‘thing’ is without a doubt extremely infectious, and unlike flu, infected people can pass it without symptoms. So how do you stop it?
As my wife pointed out, ‘how can the lockdown come off unless we have eliminated every single case. If one person remains infected and we open, as we can see in China, the virus gets wind back in its sails.’
Even if New Zealand were to eliminate the virus within its borders, the country needs to stay locked down to outsiders until all countries have eradicated it.
This takes the axiom ‘herding cats’ to new levels. You can’t herd this wicked ‘thing.’ You can erect a fence around it but it’s going to run wild inside that enclosure. And it’s going to sneak out of the fenced area no matter what you do.
We really need this to burn itself out before the Central Banks’ draconian countermeasures begin to push on strings.
Unfortunately, that is not happening. Hot weather does not bother it, and even if it did, the southern hemisphere is heading into winter.
HIV does not burn out. Nor is there a vaccine for that virus.
The author, Paul Luciw, is the Founder and Managing Director of AsiaXPAT.