The deadly dilemma. To have to choose between two evils: living with covid or trying to hide from covid.
We are faced with two clear choices:
– To continue on the path
that we are currently on, choosing to no longer live our lives. To remain
withdrawn, our borders closed to the outside world as all the countries of Asia
have been doing since March. This path has but one outcome, to condemn entire
populations to misery, poverty, hunger, economic ruin and physical death. There
is no hope in this path. Covid is here to stay. We will probably never have an
effective vaccine (viruses by their very nature constantly mutate) and so there
is no hope of a safe exit from this strategy.
Continuing on the current path will just lead to an ever-increasing ruination of lives and livelihoods. The future of a country’s key asset, the youth, will be damaged through denial of access to education and investment. International business will grind to a halt, and the destruction of a country’s economy will follow. The social problems that will arise as a result of a continuation of this strategy will be immense and hard hitting, the cost of which in damage to life and death will far exceed the damage to life that the covid virus could inflict on a population – as is clearly borne out by the established facts of the real effects of this virus. The endgame of this strategy of closing a country, is the total destruction of that country’s economy, immense damage to the health and welfare of society, and plunging that country’s future into darkness.
– The other path, that of opening the country and dynamically mitigating infection risk, offers a path where there is hope for the future. Where life can go on as normal for the vast majority. It is a path where the rewards will far outweigh the cost.
Reopening borders certainly involves risks of increased infection, but we are in a position to mitigate these risks now. And it has also become clear that for the vast majority of people covid presents no real risk of harm or even symptomatic illness. But is it possible to live without risk? Clearly not. A life without risk is impossible. Is it possible to escape death? No. It is the very condition of living, life is terminal for us all. And death comes to us in 1000s of forms, not simply covid. We cannot hide from death. How many people have died through hiding in fear from a perceived threat from covid? How many people are dying daily as a direct result of covid policies through limited access to hospitals, health screening not happening, cancer treatments not happening in a timely manner, economic ruin driving people to make poor life choices and turning to alcohol, drugs or suicide as the solution to the problems dealt to them by covid policies?
Living life is risky, driving your car to work, taking a flight, eating out, taking part in sports, all these activities and many more can result in death, but does it stop us from doing them? No. Should it stop us from doing them? No. It is living life, mitigating risk as much as possible, but living a full life. A life without risk is impossible.
Is it possible to live life and avoid illness? No. We can mitigate risk through taking sensible precautions, but we cannot guarantee a life without illness. Is it possible to hide from life behind closed borders, behind closed doors, and avoid illness? No. While you may avoid some illnesses while hiding from life, there remain a myriad of other illnesses that can arise in a person’s life at any time and can potentially kill you. So clearly hiding from life guarantees nothing.
The current policies are illogical and are at odds with the scale of the problem as we now understand it – hospitalizations and death in decline since April despite infections going up in populations such as the UK where covid is prevalent for example. The clock is ticking for millions of people, not through any risk from covid infection but from economic ruin, educational ruin and life’s hopes and opportunities destroyed. As this draconian and unnecessary policy of locking the world down continues, the sands of time for life as we know it are running out, and all that lies beyond this policy is devastation and with covid remaining at large in the world regardless. So what do we gain from the current world lockdown policies?
It is time to make the choice between living life with covid, or certain social and economic ruin with covid. It is already too late for millions, but millions of livelihoods and opportunities can be saved if the world’s leaders change direction NOW! And allow us to get back to living life. Covid remains at large with or without these draconian policies. Surely learning to live with covid and the vast majority getting back to a normal life, has to be better than all of us not living life, hiding from life with the social and economic ruin that is guaranteed and yet covid remains regardless. What is the point of that? What do we gain from these lockdowns, border closure policies? Between a certain death and a hypothetical risk, isn’t it better to choose the risk? The risk of living life. Why do you, our world leaders, continue to choose to keep us all locked within this eel trap of your own making? Why don’t you make what is clearly, and backed by the science of what we have learned of this virus now, the only sensible choice, of learning to live with covid and allowing us to get back to living LIFE?
What are you waiting for? The arrival of a vaccine? This is no plan. There are no guarantees that we will ever have a reliable vaccine. And no vaccine in history has ever been developed within the space of a few months. So were a vaccine to be successfully developed then we are still talking years, not months, before one can be safely and globally deployed. Even if a vaccine is possible by late-2021, between now and then, what do we do, wait? Wait and watch oneself, and one’s compatriots, die of hunger, depression and helplessness as a result of the economic and social ruin around us. Who will be responsible for this inevitable yet totally unnecessary death? Is mass death as a result of social programs more legitimate than the death that would arise from choosing to live with mitigated (and hypothetical) risk?
Consider the obvious. If a vaccine is deployed, how long will it take for 7+ billion people to get vaccinated? And will it be available to all, rich and poor? Who is paying for all of these drugs? How many of the world’s economies are flush with cash right now? Or will the poor be left with what will become another social disease, one that distinguishes the life of the disadvantaged from those born of privilege? If the vaccine is not distributed globally and to ALL then covid remains a threat to ALL as no vaccine will protect you for the duration of a human lifetime.
So what do we gain in locking down for months on end if once we re-open the world, covid remains a threat? A pointless policy. More lockdowns, is that plan? This policy requires an endless cycle of world lockdowns to the end of time as there is no endgame to the Eel Trap plan, every time you pop your head out you will face the same threat, covid is in the community and is here to stay. The sooner we start to learn live with it, the better for all.
How many airlines, airports, cruise operators, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, attractions, agencies, parks, rentals, or souvenir shops, from both the formal and the informal markets, will have to close for you to realize the damage that is being done to society and economies? How many millions of employees have to lose their jobs for you to realize? How many families’ futures will need to be destroyed for you to realize? How many bankruptcies and with them whole communities to lose their livelihoods and hopes for the future for you to realize? Sat in your ivory towers insulated from life’s hardships simply by an accident of birth into privilege, it is time you looked beyond your own personal comforts and tried to appreciate the lot of the common man! How many suicides for you to realize? Regardless of the emergency powers and changes to the law to restrict personal freedoms, every society has a breaking point, and at some point, people driven by misery and despair will revolt: do we have to wait until then for you to react and appreciate that this policy DOES NOT WORK? This is not the scenario of a disaster movie, this is what will happen if we don’t react and change policy direction NOW.
It is time to change policy and to learn to live with the threat of covid before it’s too late. Let’s take this risk, this is our only chance to avoid, social and economic ruin and the inevitable cataclysm that will follow. Fear paralyzes and is often a bad counselor. Let’s dare to live with risk, as humans have done successfully since the dawn of time. We are at risk of jeopardizing the vast majority in the name of possibly protecting the few people who are at risk of serious illness or death from covid. And it is only ‘possibly protecting’ as even with these policies in place the risk of infection is still there and always will be. Covid is here now, and it is going nowhere, it is time we learned to LIVE with it.
World leaders, trust us! Trust the collective intelligence and give us a chance to survive this instead of condemning us all. Open the borders, re-establish the air links, carry out the necessary tests on arrivals and departures, but let us move. Let’s choose to live. We agree to commit to respecting health protocols, physical distancing, wearing a mask and regular hand washing and use of hydro-alcoholic gels. But let’s return to life before it’s too late. Let us live.