Last week, on the 8th of February 2022 on this column, we established a few facts, about the pandemic, for Zambia, South Africa, Brazil, Britain, the US, India and China:
Population: Zambia 19,077,816, South Africa 56,978,635, UK67,081,000 (last week I inadvertently left out the three zeros and said the has UK 67,081 people – my apologise!), Brazil 213,445,417, US 334,998,398, India 1,339,330,514, and China 1,397,897,720. These figures are readily available at the US CIA World Fact Book website.
Total recorded infections since the pandemic started up to the 5thof February 2022:China has had a total of 120, 611 infections, Zambia has had 306,777 infections, South Africa3, 616, 075 infections, UK has had 17,810,151 infections, Brazil has 26, 326, 454 infections, India has had 42, 080, 664 infections and the US has had a massive 76,354,437 infections!
Obviously, these total infections figures are not a very accurate reflection for all the 7 countries, as it is impossible to detect all infections because no country has been able to test its entire population for the virus all the time, and testing itself has been limited to a set criterion, in all countries, including for those exposed and those presenting symptoms of the Covid-19 disease.
Deaths in a 28-day period ending on the 5th of February 2022: China had recorded 0 (yes, zero!) deaths from covid, Zambia had recorded 138 dead, South Africa 3,293 killed, the UK 8,298 killed, Brazil 11,443 killed, India 16,592 dead, and the US had recorded 62,350 dead in just 28 days!
We want to understand how these 7 countries have managed the pandemic, and how they may come out of it.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, and “a pandemic” on 11 March 2020. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO, in his opening remarks, on 11 March 2020, at the WHO news conference called to announce the state of the Covid-19 disease world-wide, announced that Covid-19 could be called a pandemic because of its rate of spread and severity. The WHO, he said, was alarmed at the inaction from the world to prepare to confront this disease.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Almost prophetically, on that fateful day, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”
Almost two years later, more than 15 million people have died, millions others are dead from diseases displaced in clinics and hospitals by Covid-19, national economies have been battered and shattered, global value chains are in total disarray, millions of businesses have disappeared, millions of jobs have evaporated, we are experiencing massive food and energy inflation leading to high cost of living globally, the masses are restless in virtually all the countries of the world as human life struggles to reassert itself and to return to some semblance of normalcy after the long, painful, sorrowful and exhausting fight with the pandemic.
Meanwhile a very tiny fraction of the word billionaires has reaped billions during the pandemic and some banks are celebrating massive profits, largely from the massive flows of cash governments pumped into their economies to protect large businesses and stock exchanges, from collapsing, while letting the working class die from unemployment, hunger and excruciating poverty. Assistance to poor rural populations and the working class was small, affected very few people, and was poorly organised, globally. Most governments are now turning the taps off, of this flow of help to the rural poor and the working class.
The pandemic has revealed massive global inequalities between continents, countries, people and individuals. We all now know that the world economy and social system – capitalism – thrives on inequality. Billions of us must be poor for a few to be billionaires. And the billionaires don’t care about the suffering their means of getting wealth creates for the billions of human beings on Earth. During the pandemic they have created a billionaire space tourism club for themselves. They have been flouting their wealth in the most conspicuous ways, as millions of human lives were getting infected and dying from Covid.
Today, to open up new sources of massive profits and to divert national attention from the growing explosive anger of their populations about how they have mismanaged the pandemic and caused massive infections and deaths, and actually in the process ruined the world economy, the governments of the US, UK and Western Europe are now literally begging Russia to invade Ukraine! They want China to attack Taiwan. They don’t mind a Third World War, if it will recue them from the wrath of their own people!
Science is corrupted by profits and superstition, and millions of people would rather get infected and die than trust vaccines. To rescue science and save human lives science must be freed from private greed and profits, and timeless superstitions, including certain forms of religion.
Some important scientific truths made known by the Director General of the WHO, at that fateful WHO news conference, on the 11th of March 2022, included the following: the world had never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus, this is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, if countries detected, tested, treated, isolated, traced, and mobilized their people in the response, those with a handful of cases could prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission, and countries with community transmission or large clusters could turn the tide on this virus.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus concluded his remarks by insisting about the words that mattered the most, even more than the word “pandemic”. These, he said, were: prevention, preparedness, public health, political leadership, and most of all, people!
Almost two years later, take a closer look at the 7 countries discussed above, analyse each country against its efforts to prevent the pandemic, preparations for confronting the pandemic, provision of access to quality public health care, presence of quality political leadership, and most of all, each country’s attitude to its people and the statistics suddenly make sense, and are very easy to understand! And it becomes even easier to understand why certain countries are leading in abandoning all precautions against the pandemic!
China has fully obeyed the WHO and applied the Zero Covid-19 Strategy among all these 7 countries. This strategy puts people first, saving human lives first. Everything else is subordinated to this strategic goal. And so, they have zero deaths, in 28 days. The US is the direct opposite of China; protecting wealth and profits comes first, and so it has almost a million deaths thus far, and 62,350 dead in just 28 days! The UK, India, Brazil and South Africa are private profit and private greed driven countries. Zambia too, but speculation has it that its young population (a direct result of extreme national poverty) and huge disease burden may have saved many of its people from death from the virus.
And so, lo and behold, China is not behaving as if the pandemic is over. In fact, it is behaving as if the pandemic has just begun, every outbreak is attacked by the government until it is stumped out! China’s politicians control the rich and have demonstrated their ability to manage their population in a pandemic. Led by the UK and the US, on the other hand, the other 6 countries clearly are controlled by the rich and powerful whose profits have suffered during the pandemic and now want their profit-making activities to fully open. They don’t mind abandoning all precautions against the virus.
Of course, in all these 7 countries life has been tough for ordinary people and they would love a pandemic free world!
Should the world ever experience a pandemic that kills all infected people, we now know which countries would perish first, and which ones would survive!
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