CHARLOTTE, NC: When H.G. Wells published his classic science fiction novel The War of the Worlds in hard-cover in 1896, he became, in a sense, the Nostradamus of literature. Wells wrote a manuscript for COVID-19, the CoronaVirus, the Chinese Virus. A flu by any other name.
Based on the premise that Earth is invaded by aliens from Mars who are in dire need of resources, the book explores an interplanetary global war where the countries of the world join forces to combat the invasion.
Despite the use of the most state-of-the-art weaponry the Earth has in its international arsenal, nothing works against the more technologically advanced invaders.
Ironically the Martians eventually begin dying off for no explainable reason. In the end the culprit(s) turn out to be microscopic bacteria that were foreign to the Martian immune systems.
In a sense the invaders were eradicated by a Wellsian version of coronavirus.
The global impact of COVID-19
Now that COVID-19 has reached global proportions, enough time has passed and enough data has been gathered to establish some useful generalizations about international health issues.
For example, there are still concerns about whether or not there has been an overreaction to halting the spread of the disease for which there have been valid arguments on both sides.
Given the number of COVID-19 related deaths in the United States, which could be interpreted as small, there is also the factor of unknown exposures. These would likely greatly increase the odds of infection while prolonging the amount of time to diminish its growth.
COVID-19 Wars: Baby Boomers vs. Millennials
That, in turn, has created a sidebar generational war between Baby Boomers and Millennials which is very real.
Since the younger self-absorbed the-world-owes-me-everything generation has, up until now, been immune or only mildly inconvenienced by the plague, they have little or no interest in adhering to even the slightest form of quarantine.
In fact, with the reductions in patronage in restaurants and bars and the like, the selfish-selfie generation is seizing the opportunity to take advantage of less patronage in order to paaarrrttteee!
In so doing, they are running the risk of prolonging the pandemic by infecting high-risk seniors who are extremely susceptible. No worries. Just so long as the Millennials are not vulnerable or inconvenienced, that’s all that matters.
Finding the whole truth, and nothing but the truth
Obtaining accurate numbers is impossible when you consider the source, time of day and fluidity of the news. As of this morning, 112 people have died since the first US case of the coronavirus was reported in January. Since that date, the virus has spread to all states, the District of Columbia and some territories. What is important to remember the number of deaths in the US so far is very small. Especially, when you consider the mass hysteria and volume of precautionary measures that have been taken.
It gets even lower when you consider that 31 deaths are from a single facility in the state of Washington. That makes the overall ratio smaller still.
That’s where the debate becomes more contentious. If taking immediate severe measures can shorten the pandemic, and waiting could make it worse, at what point do precautions go over the top?
COVID-19 canceling America
The Atlantic Coast Conference was midway through its basketball tournament when the NBA canceled the rest of its season. Like dominoes after that, the NHL, MLB, the Kentucky Derby, and The Masters quickly followed suit. When the buzzer sounded halfway through the second round of the tournament, so too, did the Atlantic Coast Basketball season.
As one Boomer explained to a self-righteous Millennial,
“In World War II people your age were storming the beaches of Normandy. We’re just asking you to sit on the sofa. I think you can handle it.”
There may be other offshoots from all of this as entrepreneurial ideas arise. What about home visits by barbers, beauticians and other service-oriented small businesses? How about increased access to food delivery services, car detailing or pet walking?
Will fast-food operations learn some new marketing techniques during their brief mini-monopoly in the restaurant business?
What about political lessons? Will politicians learn anything about how to govern or not to govern by immediate actions?
Whenever there’s a major natural disaster in our country the local talking heads are always the first to brag about the resilience of their communities; Boston Strong! Midwesterners Fight Back! Texans Take No Prisoners! etc.
The Fragility of Humanity
But what if another idea came about as a possible result of something similar to War of the Worlds? Overreaction or not, one important lesson we should take away from this is how truly fragile human civilization really is.
COVID-19 has demonstrated how quickly civilized societies can rapidly return to near animalistic savagery through hoarding and/or buying out entire supplies of basic necessities. Some grocery shelves that once were chock full of paper products now look like Russian supply houses with virtually nothing to buy.
Imagine now for just a moment, far fetched as it may be, that because this is a global event that it somehow could unify our planet.
Unlike the great wars of the 20th century which pitted nation against nation, coronavirus is, in a way, like being attacked by H.G. Wells’ Martians. It is a universal enemy that should unite countries in a common cause to protect our planet.
From that perspective maybe this ugly invisible killer could be the catalyst that begins to unify the world.
The coronavirus is neither mythical nor is it trivial,
But if the global community is vigilant and heeds the warnings of the recent pandemic, perhaps the lessons we learn from this crisis will have long term results that will be beneficial to mankind in the future. We can only hope.
“Go Earthlings! We’re Number One!”
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor is an award-winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is the founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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