OPINIONS

Politics in the time of corona

James Chai

Published
6

COMMENT | This virus could doom us. Other than terrorism and all-out military warfare, an influenza pandemic like coronavirus has catastrophic consequences of taking millions of lives.

But none of us would believe it.

Unlike a military war, a virus has no human dimension. Our eyes cannot see what a coronavirus is – and we only believe what we can see. There are no missiles that could pierce through our lungs; there are only microbes. Though the number of infections and deaths are increasing at an alarming rate, we are not bothered. What is not seen is not real; this too shall pass like a bad dream.

We continued going to work, travelled to meet friends, and maintained our filthy ways. How could a small, invisible, undetectable virus change our grand, superior, well-prepared plans?

History wouldn’t scare us. Not the Spanish flu of 1920 that killed more than 50 million; not the Black Death of 1360 that killed more than 25 million; not the Asian flu of 1957 that killed more than two million; not even the H1N1of 2009 could scare us.

In the legendary novel, The Plague, Albert Camus described this human stubbornness in the face of a virus. The people thought it was “impossible” that a virus could get to them, even when a quarter of the city has already perished from it...

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