The rampaging unseen enemy
The world has rolled out its tanks to do battle, but unfortunately with an invisible enemy. It is a clever, unseen yet invincible that descends on humanity in rampaging vengefulness against power and technological wonders that are the pride of the modern man and our modern age. Its strategy is to start its war from the top, both in terms of nations and the leaders. And it has sent the economy tumbling from the heights. The name of the enemy is Coronavirus, alias COVID-19 of no known fixed address. Consider the nations where it has struck: China; Italy; Iran; South Korea; Spain; Japan; France; Germany; Norway; United States of America; United Kingdom; Canada; India; South Africa; The Netherlands and Switzerland, all leading countries of the world. Developing countries, such as Nigeria, Ghana, Uruguay, Togo, Angola; and Uganda to name only a few are not spared.
The leaders it has forced to quarantine include the Vice- President of the United States, Mr. Pence; the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau after his wife, Sophie Trudeau, tested positive. Prince Charles tested positive yesterday. In our country, some few senior government functionaries, among them governors, went into self-isolation. Mr. Pence went into quarantine after one of his aides tested positive.
Massachusetts, California, among the badly hit states in the United States, issued a stay-at-home order to their citizens. The outcry of the governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo poignantly demonstrates how desperate the situation of COVID-19 invasion of the world is. Pleading for ventilators, Cuomo says the COVID-19 infections would peak within the next 14 days. In anticipation of this, he has requested for 30,000 ventilators from the federal authorities, but the total available for the whole of the US is 12,700 ventilators.
Pence the vice president says the federal authorities can afford to give only 4,000 out of the 12,700 breathing machine available. The case count doubles every three days. So far the state has procured 7000 machines of the ventilators. The scenario the governor has painted is that the machines are to be distributed to those who have the chances of survival only! Not to everybody in need. So far, there is pressure on Mr. Trump to invoke a Defence Act which gives a US President the power to force companies to produce needed equipment in time of emergencies.
The companies are saying that their production materials are limited and the costs are unbearable without government’s huge financial assistance. The world has no doubt been thrown into chaos and confusion. Passengers of Angola airline that arrived from Lisbon, Portugal had their passports seized by the authorities and were immediately driven from the airport to a quarantine centre in the outskirts of Luanda, the capital.
What lies behind the advent of Mr. COVID-19, which caught the whole world unawares and held it by the jugular? Now, that the world is humbled, perhaps we will begin to pick some gems of hope from the profound pronouncement of the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte when he said: “We have lost control, we have killed the epidemic physically and mentally. Can’t understand what more we can do. Our only hope remains up in the Sky. God, rescue your people.” Humility evinced in this manner is the beginning of the journey to the longed-for healing of our world.
The message from a former Member of Parliament in Egypt is even the greater pointer. Captioned ‘Don’t curse the Coronavirus’, the message reads in part: “It has brought back humanity. Brought back people to their Creator and to their morals. It closed down bars, night clubs, brothels, casinos. It brought down interest rates. Brought families together…So far it has moved one third of military expenditure to health care…Humans are now worshipping God rather than progress and technology…It has taught humans how to sneeze, yawn and cough. Corona is now making us stay at home, living simple lives and thanking God for waking us up to reality and to giving us an opportunity to ask Him for His forgiveness and His Help. There is a great lesson in this for those who are wise.”