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Coronavirus diary—the epilogue


[FILE] Medical staff tend to a patient at the intensive care unit for patients infected with the Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) at the AP-HP Tenon hospital on January 26, 2021 in Paris. (Photo by ALAIN JOCARD / AFP)

One of the social consequences of COVID-19 is racism seen in the hate crimes against Asians, particularly, in the United States where Asians have increasingly come under attack due to the acknowledgment of China, an Asian country as the point of dispersal of the coronavirus, and somewhat responsible for its prevalence and the corresponding global misery. In this respect, Moriah Balingit, Hannah Natanson and Yutao Chen rightly observed this trend in their piece titled “As schools reopen, Asian American students are missing from classrooms”, published in the Washington Post.

They noted the growing anxiety among the Asian community in the US who have become targets of hate crimes aftermath of anti-Chinese rhetoric over the coronavirus outbreak by former President Donald Trump who labeled the virus, “Chinese virus” and “Kung flu”. For example, they further noted that “In New York City, a Filipino man was slashed with a box cutter on the subway, an Asian woman was punched in the face on a subway platform, and another woman was shoved to the ground in Flushing, a predominantly Asian community in Queens. In Los Angeles, a man at a bus stop was beaten with his own cane, and a Thai grandfather died after being pushed to the ground in San Francisco. It’s unclear whether race motivated all the crimes, but the incidents, combined with increasing reports of harassment and bullying, have heightened anxiety in many communities.” This trend will continue and will be the blight of the Joe Biden administration.


A related and equally important issue is that of vaccine passports. Concerning this, The Economist of London referenced the guidelines about social mingling that were updated “to distinguish between the vaccinated and unvaccinated for the first time” as well as the European Commission’s bloc-wide “digital green pass” scheme. On its part, Britain is also considering a vaccine-passport scheme. In scope, the passports would show vaccination status, results from infection tests, proof of quarantine, or exemptions therefrom on health grounds. On February 5, the WHO warned that vaccinated people should not be exempt from lockdown and quarantine rules. It, however, cautioned against using vaccine passports for border crossings given obvious inclination in that direction.

China has even added a dangerous dimension to the vaccine passport question. According to World is One News, to enter China one would be vaccinated with the Chinese vaccine notwithstanding previous vaccination with other vaccines. To boot, three-week quarantine would be observed. Its neigbour, Japan maintains a tight regime on who enters the country in ways that fit into Koshore Mahbubani’s epithet. Mahbubani, a distinguished fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, in a comparative analysis of the Asia and the West response to the pandemic, described Asian response in superlative terms compare to the complacency in the West. The twenty-first century in this context has become “The Competent Asian Century”.

Therefore, many countries are poised to incorporate vaccine passports into their entry rules while the IATA Travel Pass project will reinforce the vaccine apartheid on a global scale that might result in some sort of delinking of the global economy. These call for resistance and the need to foreground respect for the human rights of individuals. States and organisations should restrict themselves to the current regime of a requirement of a negative COVID-19 test before setting off, and quarantine upon arrival at one’s destination. But do not forget that the PCR tests are not reliable. If in doubt remember proofs provided by late President John Magufuli of Tanzania. 


For the vaccine-hesitant, this diary suggests dietary acculturation to immune-boosting diets. The consumption of foods such as lemon, avocado, garlic, mango, tangerine, orange, carrots, pineapple, watercress, oranges, and banana among others would be invaluable. Also, consumption of immune-boosting herbal preparation that came innovatively during this pandemic is advised. In Nigeria, there is the paxherbal Cugzin and the Verozil – an immune booster against infectious disease and a product of collaboration between Ooni of Ife and Yetkem.  What is not in doubt is that eating a healthy and balanced diet enhances our immunity to the extent of neutralizing infections.  

G. John Ikenberry, a professor at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs in his outlook on coronavirus called “A Jekyll-Hyde World” in Foreign Policy. He noted that “The pandemic offers a dramatic reminder, now playing out in every corner of the Earth, that humans have not fully mastered nature and that we cannot escape the growing interconnectedness inherent in our modern existence.” Indeed, Nature’s capacity to take its revenge and human’s darkest recesses for sinister contrivance is boundless. We might never know the origin of the virus soon. Someday, ‘conspiracy theories” will become “conspiracy facts”. As Professor John Ferguson noted in his inaugural of 14 February 1957, Department of Classics, University of Ibadan: “Science advances from two motives, the desire to know and the desire to control. When the desire to control becomes dominant, the emphasis tends to swing over to applied science and technology, and science…is in danger of over-spending its capital”. Science should be placed at the service of humanity and not destroy it. I hope the world will not be afflicted so soon by another pestilence. Global gatekeepers are already forewarning us to prepare for the next pandemic. Humanity desires some respite.
This diary is now concluded. Thanks to all my readers.
Akhaine is a Professor of Political Science at the Lagos State University. 


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