SHAME AND SCANDAL – the politics of a pandemic

SHAME AND SCANDAL – the politics of a pandemic

For the record, lest I be misunderstood, this coronavirus is deadly and should not be taken lightly.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it a pandemic — simply defined as “prevalent over a whole country or the world.”

And some housekeeping: COVID-19: CO stands for Corona. VI stands for virus. D stands for disease. The 19 – formerly this disease was referred to as “2019-nCoV.”

This virus can cause deadly upper-respiratory tract illnesses, or death, and it has left thousands dead in Italy, Spain, China and Iran.

Not much is known about its origin, much as DJT refers to it as the “Chinese virus.” But nobody has ever accused him of having any common sense or smarts. So, we ignore such moronic talk.

And the treatment for this virus is still mainly experimental. For sure there is no vaccine for it. In other words there are many un-answered lingering questions.

I have mine : had this virus not hit European countries, (and China and South Korea) so hard, leaving thousands dead in its tracks, would the world give a shit? Would we have been so alarmed?

Had it ravaged sub-Saharan Africa in equal numbers, would the world care?

As I write there are only 139 dead in Africa. I don’t know what to make of the theory that the virus does not survive in hot climate.

Let’s talk about malaria and Ebola, the latter having devastated West Africa in 2014-2016 leaving 11,315 dead in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. There were only 7 reported cases in the US.

True, Ebola was in the news but not with so much emphasis or concern because it was killing people of color and mostly poor, and disadvantaged.

Malaria on the other hand, preventable, kills an average of 500,000 Africans in sub-Sahara Africa every year according to the WHO.

Infant deaths due to malaria in pregnancy kills 200,000 every year. Children in Africa miss up to 50% of school days due to malaria. This endemic (“A disease regularly found among particular people or in a certain area”) costs the world economy $12 billion per year according to the IMF.

To date there are a reported 33,878 dead due to the coronavirus worldwide — only 139 in Africa. But you would think the world is coming to an end, or the future of mankind is in question.

Do the maths: how many African lives have been lost to malaria – a preventable disease – in the last decade? How many have been lost to hunger and famine?

Sure, the coronavirus should worry all of us, but let’s put it all in perspective.

My spirits were uplifted the other day in isolation in the comfort of my home watching Cuba dispatch a contingent of Cuban doctors to rescue Italy’s crumbling healthcare system.

Fidel’s legacy lives on.