Was It Ever Close?

When the coronavirus first arrived, I thought that this was it. This was the thing that the world needed to bring it together. A common foe that would galvanize the species.

At the outset it looked like I might be right. The ‘smart’ people stepped up and took charge, and we listened to what they said. The world-wide medical community worked toward mitigating the spread and developing a vaccine. There were no geographical borders. Information was shared about the spread, and about trials and treatments that looked promising from all corners of the planet. The entire effort was unified. It was Us versus IT, The Humans against The Bug. This was the planet’s ‘alien invasion’!

In the end, I was wrong. The war against the killer flu took too long. Most humans have a short attention span. They expected the kind of war that would fit into two and a half hours of action-packed entertainment. Two years of mask wearing became too much for the majority. After the first six months, most politicians weren’t listening to the ‘smart’ people anymore. They were keeping an eye on the ballot boxes. Self-interest took over from greater-good! The wheels fell of the cart!! The whole galvanized world thing went to crap!!!

Once there was word of successful vaccine trials, suddenly the ‘have’ nations took over, leaving the ‘have-nots’ in the dust. Britain made deals with every manufacturer in Europe and gloated about it, Trump tried to buy millions of doses from of those same manufacturers on the ‘low, low’ greasing the palms of executives, got caught, and didn’t care. Russia made it against the law to sell vaccines to foreign interests, and China shut its doors and pretty much refused to answer any calls on the subject. It was ugly to watch just how quickly the ‘one for all’ mind-set disappeared, and was replaced by the ‘all about me’ mentality. Pharmaceutical manufacturers had countries lined up at the doors as they began production. All sense of co-operation was gone.

Adding to the ugly, once a viable vaccine was discovered, Big-Pharma went into the courts around the world, and sought patent-protection for ‘their’ discovery. They were not going to share the ingredients and how to produce the vaccine with anyone else. Mine!! Mine!! Mine!! They were game with sharing information to begin with, because it saved them millions of dollars in R&D costs, but once they got positive results from their trials, they closed the doors, called the lawyers, and then took the phones off the hook. The world went from galvanized against a common foe to only looking after number one in less than two years.

Today, in the countries that are wealthy, they are starting to reach a saturation point, between those that are vaccinated and those that chose not to be. The flow of vaccines to poorer countries is starting to increase, but it will take many more years before this war ends, because wars are long drawn-out affairs that require focus and commitment. People die in wars, and the longer the war, the greater the casualty number is.

It makes me wonder, if we had just managed to stay unified against the pandemic, like we were in the beginning, might the war not be further along. If the world had continued to move as one, developed and produced the most viable vaccine together, and taken bold unified steps against the enemy, could this war have been shortened and the casualties reduced? It seems to me, that ‘getting along’ is just not in our species’ nature, and feeding our personal greed always seems to take precedent over doing the right thing.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2022 Shane Ferguson