Covid-19 is the pandemic that the world has been waiting for. Ten years ago I remember attending events about the possible threat of bird flu. Everyone was talking about how it would sweep across the world and that we needed to start planning right away. Fortunately the virus didn’t make the leap from birds to humans but the threat has come from different animals this time, bats or even pangolins if you believe everything you read.
Of course the world was ready! Recent experience of SARS has given the Asian countries some advantage but in the main the preparations for a global pandemic have been woeful. This is not intended as a criticism of the government but the lack of personal protective equipment and ventilators has markedly shown how ill prepared we were as a country.
What the pandemic has also shown is how unfair the world has become, at least in the more developed countries. Enormous sums of money and huge amounts of support have been conjured up to help the less fortunate and in a pandemic that means the majority. The virus has highlighted the inadequacies of the welfare, health and social care systems and has shown how we rely upon each other and how close we all sail to desperation.
What I hope then is that we learn these lessons and that a new, fairer world can emerge from the pandemic. A world where there is less inequality, where people have enough money to guarantee a basic level of welfare, a society focused on sharing rather than greed, where everyone considers their impact upon those around them and where we don’t think that those less fortunate than ourselves somehow deserve it.
Such a society will not be socialist or capitalist, left or right wing, just decent and founded on the best of the human condition. Creating such a society will be hard, very hard but can be done, if we all play our part.
Are you up for it?