"Toxicity seems to be taking hold across communities and nations, even among families and organizations."
What is it with this pandemic that instead of compassion and united action abounding, toxicity and division seem to be taking hold across communities and nations, even among families and organizations?
Take the case of the global vaccination program. Meant to be a united effort to tame and halt the transmission of this COVID-19 virus across the board, it has instead engendered divisions and recriminations in its wake. There is the battle between and among experts on the efficacy, viability, manner and even production of the candidate vaccines. Will it make any difference to just have one dose or should it be two or even three? What about the time lags? Should it be after two or three days or will it matter if we make it a week before the next dose gets injected? The give and take among the experts was such that it almost degenerated into another kind of Cold War brawl before cooler heads got the "politics" out of the discussion.
In any event, maybe we should not make a big issue out of these differences between and among the experts. After all, there are a lot of iffy things surrounding the nature, effect and cure – the very science – of this virus that such kinds of discussions and give and take exchanges normally happen. One notes that early on, most scientists were saying this was simply a deadlier and more transmissible respiratory disease like the common cold or seasonal pneumonia and that it should be under control in a few months or so. Well, that is not going to be the case anymore. We may have to live with this virus longer than expected.
Thus, we should now move beyond focusing almost all efforts to restrain its transmission and produce a cure centered on its impact on the respiratory system. With almost a year of study perhaps we can no longer consider this as a new virus, a novelty so much so that experts should probably reconsider their earlier advisory to outrightly cremate all those dying from the disease. Of course, we should probably take precaution in handling the remains. But we should not deny the experts the opportunity to conduct a more thorough study of its nature and impact using the cadavers as may be permitted under the circumstances. That was what some Italian and Spanish doctors managed to do after taking hold of some of the remains. They decided to run tests other than the usual, and lo and behold, it dawned upon the medical community that the virus also affects blood circulation leading to coagulation and subsequently thrombosis. So, those working on the vaccine and the possible cures had to scramble back to their laboratories to rejig their experiments altogether.
Then, there is the matter of the cost and distribution of the vaccine which has pitted rich countries against those scrounging for funds to access the same. More pointedly, there is, as well, the matter within countries themselves where the question of equity and ethics got into the picture. Rich people were on the prowl to get a vaccine at any cost even as their neighbors had to wait for government to wade in and provide the necessary support. How governments are suppose to procure, distribute and inject the vaccines and then tackle the after effects has also spawned cries of division, patronage and equity. How come some are going to be more equal than others has become a constant refrain.
Finally, there is the matter of trust being thrown at institutions like the WHO and the health and emergency care organizations within countries. While the WHO has been trying hard to provide the best possible guidance regarding this pandemic it has come under fire from lots of corners the most strident being from US President Trump who has almost single-handedly sparked outrage over the agency's reported inadequacies and even biases. That outrage has lit the fire under the health care systems and institutions in most countries that chaos and despair is in the air. It will probably take time and the accelerated roll out of the vaccines now in production to get some of the toxicity out of the public consciousness. Which is disturbing to say the least.
We can go on and on enumerating the many divisions and recriminations across the board among and within countries, communities, organization and even families which lead us asking: what's with this pandemic that's making life so topsy turvy and when can we at least calm down, take stock and move on more united and compassionate in the effort to regain our bearings and rebuild a more humane world.