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Coronavirus diary—the epilogue

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(Photo by Niklas HALLE’N / AFP)

Everything that has a beginning must have an end. Put differently, processes undergo dialectical transformation and continuity. This diary has now come to an end in its present form. However, let me gaze into the future.

Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens and Homo Deus in his outlook on Coronavirus published in the Financial Times of March 20, 2020, noted in ways critical that “Humankind is now facing a global crisis: Perhaps the biggest crisis of our generation. The decisions people and governments take in the next few weeks will probably shape the world for years to come. They will shape not just our healthcare systems but also our economy, politics and culture. We must act quickly and decisively. We should also take into account the long-term consequences of our actions. When choosing between alternatives, we should ask ourselves not only how to overcome the immediate threat, but also what kind of world we will inhabit once the storm passes.” But the storm is not over.

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As indicated in Part 50, my major task in this epilogue is to look into the future of the coronavirus pandemic. I see three possibilities. One, we might be forced to live with the Coronavirus like malaria in the tropics that can be managed with curatives and therapeutics. Two is outright elimination of the virus through an efficacious and safe vaccine or oral medication and dietary acculturation. Some of these issues had been discussed in previous parts of this serial. Three, forced vaccination, and four is vaccine apartheid. I will throw light on the latter two.

The first scenario is supported by expert opinions. There is no overt optimism that the world would be rid of the virus.

From David Navaro of the WHO, David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and head of the Centre on Global Health Security at Chatham House, London to Anthony Fauci who until recently White House adviser on Coronavirus. In the BBC Hardtalk anchored by Stephen Sackur, Navaro averred that “We have all got to learn to live with this virus, to do our business with this virus in our presence, to have social relations with this virus in our presence and not to be continuously having to be in lockdown because of the widespread infections that can occur.” Professor Heymann realistically observed concerning COVID-19 that ‘We are witnessing first-hand the emergence of a new infectious disease…

Though we don’t yet understand COVID-19’s complete destiny, we believe it’s on its way to becoming endemic, as did the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after it emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century before it spread throughout the world.’ On his part, Fauci expressed doubt about overcoming the virus. As he put it, “I doubt we are going to eradicate this.

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I think we need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic that we have to just be careful about.”

Nevertheless, the vaccine binge has left emergency use authorisation to mass vaccination and could lead to new vaccine apartheid in which one would be isolated unless you carry the green card as proof of having being vaccinated which would amount to the greatest human rights violation of the prevailing century. Indeed, Harari had also warned that “many short-term emergency measures will become a fixture of life. That is the nature of emergencies. They fast-forward historical processes. Decisions that in normal times could take years of deliberation are passed in a matter of hours. Immature and even dangerous technologies are pressed into service because the risks of doing nothing are bigger. Entire countries serve as guinea-pigs in large-scale social experiments.”

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To be sure, the world is dealing with a disease whose universe is uncharted. Ironically, the world is being railroaded into mass vaccination for vaccines that have several comas. One, the vaccine is not curative. Two, it reduces only the lethality of the virus. Three, none of the vaccine candidates attained 100 percent clinical trials. Four, not all categories of human demography have been subjected to clinical trials.

Five, their short and long-term effects are unknown. Six, no one can say for sure the durability of the resultant antibodies. And Seven, it is not clear if the vaccines will work well against all variants and hence the idea of tweaking the vaccines to cover new strains. These are basic facts. They are being suppressed by what Robert Kennedy Jnr. has identified as “Systematic exaggeration of risk from the target disease (Pharma calls this project ‘Disease Branding’”; “Systematic exaggeration of vaccine efficacy”; “Systematically downplaying vaccine risks”; and “Exaggerating disease risk”. This trend will continue for the sake of “callous cash payment” to the detriment of the wellbeing of humanity.

This epilogue will be concluded next week.

Akhaine is a Professor of Political Science at the Lagos State University.

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