Covid-19 exposes emperors’ nakedness


Harare (New Ziana) – The raging coronavirus is one of the worst health crises the world has ever experienced, not in death toll numbers yet, but certainly in speedy global reach, scale and impact.

Other similar crises in recent times, such as Ebola, which hit central and west Africa a few years ago, and SARS which, like the coronavirus originated from China, were not only fairly easily contained geographically, but medically too.

Not the coronavirus.

Since its outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, it has rapidly spread to all parts of the world – 150 countries in just three months.

The only exception, so far, is ice-cold Antarctica.

In its wake, in human cost, over 14 000 people have already succumbed to it around the globe, and hundreds of thousands of others are battling it, the majority in hospitals or special treatment centres.

Among the former is one in Zimbabwe, and another among the latter.
But while, on a global scale, the human toll is not yet terrifying, its social and economic impact is already apocalyptic – even the Second World War pales in comparison.

The world has literally de-linked over the coronavirus, with just limited air, sea and land cross border human movements at the moment, a spectre the globe has never witnessed before.

Internally, countries have also demarcated suburban, city, district and provincial boundaries in desperate attempts to stem coronavirus infections.

It is a social phenomenon never before experienced on this scale anywhere.

But the impact on the global economy is even far greater. Stock markets have crashed worldwide losing billions, and whole industries – airline and hospitality in particular – are staring imminent death.

The air travel industry is already talking about losses of up to US$100 billion, and upcoming job losses of unprecedented proportions.

The hospitality industry worldwide is in similar quandary, as are tourism-dependent economies like the Bahamas, Seychelles, Mauritius etc.

In Zimbabwe, tourism contributes 10 percent to gross domestic product.

The US is already readying trillions in bailout financing for stressed American businesses, and the European Union has announced plans to shell out a similar package of around half a trillion euros.

Yet the world is only in the early stages of coronavirus.

But the coronavirus has also uncovered some uncomfortable truths about some of our self-anointed masters of planet earth that either stayed ‘vigilantly’ hidden, or simply unimaginable to the ‘majority ruled.’

As elsewhere in the world, the United States has quarantined large swathes of its cities and communities as it battles the coronavirus.

It is one of the countries with fast growing cases, and drastic precautionary measures have included putting populous California state, with 40 million people, in lockdown.

Large parts of New York state, which includes New York city, is also in similar lockdown.

Other measures taken by the United States include shutting down schools, like elsewhere, as these are seen as high risk Covid-19 transmission hot spots.

But this measure is backfiring, and undressing the empirial ‘master of this planet’ in the process.

In only the quarantined areas, it has been discovered that 30 million children in schools, not just accessed education, but sustenance as well in the learning institutions in the form of social welfare feeding, without which their young lives were doomed.

Thirty million obtained lunch at school, and 14 million breakfast as a matter of survival.

The schools, therefore, cannot easily close because they are a source of livelihood, this perhaps cherished more by the children and their parents than the education they offer.

This, in the United States, the world’s richest nation which has led global crusades about free enterprise, equality and human rights, and fought countless ‘civilising’ wars costing trillions of dollars in places like Afghanistan and Iraq in the quest for ‘social justice.’

Italy, which often tags along the US military crusades in the name of the NATO defence alliance, is now the epicentre of Covid-19, and coping badly.

Literally the country is in sixes and sevens after the death toll, at more than 5 000, surpassed even that of China where Covid-19 originated from.

After quarantining the northern half of the country to no meaningful effect, Rome has been forced to choose the ‘indignity’ of accepting Covid-19 assistance from down-trodden Cuba, as most Third World countries have done for years.

Yet the Caribbean island nation has lived under ‘democratising’ Western economic quarantine for more than 60 years, suffering deep human-induced poverty.

In spite of this, Cuba has developed a world class health delivery system which is the envy of many, and is now coming to the rescue of Italy, a member of the G7 – the club of the world’s wealthiest nations.

At the weekend, Havana sent a 52-member initial team of medical specialists and drugs to Italy to help the country cope with the disaster.

Russia, another country ostracised and demeaned by the West, also sent in specialists, drugs and equipment to Italy at the weekend, as has loathed ‘communist’ China.

Ordinarily, such assistance is expected to move in the opposite direction. At least that is what the world has been trained to believe, expect.
Is it far-fetched for Cuban medical specialists to next be on a similar mission in the US?

Indeed, the emperors are naked. The world has seen and taken note.

New Ziana

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