Looking forward, what can we think will happen? I can think of both long and short term events that’ll result from here on. And I can.
First, you have to see that this pandemic comes on the heels of a most horrific bushfire season in Australia where people died also, and tens of thousands were left homeless when their homes were destroyed or damaged in the fires. Tens of thousands more lost their farms, their crops, their livestock, and their livelihoods.
And THAT in turn followed a series of other disasters, parts of Australia losing crops and livestock in droughts, other parts of Australia losing homes and businesses to floods, and THAT in turn coming on plagues of locusts and fires and floods and earthquakes all over the world it seems.
And all of that has to be seen against a steady uptick of very graphic and direct warnings about global warming, and exposes of species extinctions, and the declaring of a new Age on Earth, the Anthropocene Era.
So there’s a very large body of very recent disasters and disruptions backing this pandemic. And it’s been seen by an estimated 57% of the world’s population that now has access to and are active users of the Internet. 4.4 billion people as ta January last year. People have become aware of the chatter about fossil fuels versus renewables, ICEVs vs EVs, plastics vs natural materials, capitalism vs socialism.
Donald Trump and the wall, Boris Johnson and brexit, Scott Morrison and stopping the boats. ‘Nuff said.
It’s created a certain mindset and mood around the world, and created an environment where people were ready to see Novel Coronavirus 2019 as a successor to the Spanish Flu and more recently the Influenza A and B strains. People could see and believe that it was a pandemic.
In the short term what we’ll see is a fairly predictable future – as we get better at isolating and distancing and taking precautions, the infections will decrease. And if we’re EXTREMELY lucky we’ll be able to out – solitary the virus and it’ll die on all the contamination and infection vectors out there and we’ll be shut of it forever.
But that’s not a very high likelihood. More likely is that we’ll see the infection rate drop, our disinfection skills increase, and from there we have a few directions that can occur. If we find that immunity is hard to acquire, we’re stuck waiting in isolation until a vaccine is found. (Of which, more later.)
If immunity is easily acquired but short lived, and we haven’t eliminated CoV19 from all its possible vectors, we’ll get a “surprise second wave.” We’ll also get a surprise second wave if we don’t isolate for long enough once the infection rate flattens. We may even find that CoV19 mutates like crazy and we’re never shut of it and its cousins again. In this case, significant herd thinning will take place and we’ll adapt as a species, but of course so will viruses.
We are going to see (as we have already begun to see) billionaires throwing money at efforts to create a vaccine for CoV19, and that will start people asking why these billionaires haven’t already thrown similar amounts at research into lung diseases, MS, and the general health facilities in poorer countries.
Really Mr Gates? You’ve just thrown several billion dollars at building CoV19 vaccine facilities rather than just support and expand existing research facilities, and you have enough personal wealth to end world poverty for several decades yet you didn’t?
Mr Musk – you’ve thrown billions at research to make “neural lace” to allow us to remain one step ahead of AI. But while you could have supplied energy generating systems for all of South Africa so that they could pump and purify water – nothing. Despite the fact that you’re manufacturing those exact things and in real terms they aren’t costing you as much as they cost us…
But there’s one good thing. We may stumble across the One Inoculation that we’ve been waiting for, a generic universal virus vaccine. No more flu, no more colds. No more CoV19.
We’ve seen governments open the granaries to the populace. Up until now, those handouts were called bailouts and reserved for the other rich biches. We were told they belonged in the mythical realms of “finance” and “economy” and weren’t possible for us. There was no way a country could provide a basic living income for its citizens. (Despite that several countries have trialled variations of this, and it works. But I digress.)
The thought on everyone’s lips (to mash up a metaphor or two) will be “Why not before, when old people died because you the government was so tight with their pensions? Why did you harass people to death for your ideal of capitalism when you have now demonstrated that socialism works better?”
We’re going to want better.