Click here to print page

Are you one of the people COVID-19 loves?


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

One of the things I have been thinking about in recent time is the kind of world we will be living in after we have brought the novel coronavirus pandemic under control. I say under control for, from the limited perch from which I sit and ruminate as a layman, and acknowledging that I am no epidemiologist or expert on viruses, I do not believe we will fully eradicate the coronavirus from our midst. And, frankly, I do not believe that the experts themselves know.

The COVID-19-causing virus is called novel simply for the reason that, as a global community, we have not experienced this virus before. We know of the common flu, a less potent and less dangerous member of the coronavirus family, and have developed vaccines to fight it, and yet we have not subdued it. Even now, we cannot be sure how we will treat with COVID-19 — should it not be COVID-20? — in the near future, not to mention the long term.

Pfizer, one of the manufacturers of a well-respected vaccine against the virus, has just announced that we may have to get a third booster shot of its vaccines to get ahead of the emerging variants of the virus. There is the suggestion that yearly vaccinations may become the norm. So, from my layman's understanding, it appears that this is a virus we will be dealing with well into the future. It has proven itself not only to be very ubiquitous, but adaptable. It depends on the weariness of human beings to relax their guard and so open themselves to be attacked. It thrives best in an atmosphere of ignorance and fear, and gets really entertained when people do not wear masks or adopt other methodologies to restrict its movement.

It is particularly entertained by the conspiracy theories that abound about it, with the lame-brained attack of anti-vaxxers who spin all kinds of theories about what vaccines will do to the body, with the fulminations of religious fundamentalists who sell the gospel of misinformation that mask wearing and vaccines are satanic or has to do with the mark of the beast.

It loves politicians who do not take it seriously and who leave their nations open to its attack by playing down its deadly presence. It continues to revel in the antics of those who talk about their freedoms being restricted, and who want to open their economies and get back to some normality in their lives.

It knows that a mass gathering of any sort — in schools, churches. mosques, temples, synagogues, on a sport field, in a restaurant, etc — is ripe opportunity for its continued longevity. It hates the people who wears any mask, especially those who wear two, or who stay in the lines to be vaccinated. It will not waste any time trying to infect those people as they understand its modus operandi too well. Instead of putting up a fight it will simply move on to one of the many who are not that careful or who are likely to welcome it with open arms.

As much as I would like to see it, it gives me no pleasure to say that a post-COVID-19 experience will not be possible any time soon. Continued sensible, practical, and judicious management of the virus will be necessary in the conceivable future.

The Jamaican Government must be congratulated for its latest blitz in getting thousands of people vaccinated before the expiration of the latest doses of vaccines. I had my reservations that this could have been done, but I was happy to have been disabused. What was particularly heartening about this was that it was oversubscribed, which meant that people really want to get vaccinated. I am sure this did not sit well with the anti-vaxxers and the peddlers of diabolical theories about vaccines. The blitz demonstrated that if the vaccines are available people will line up for the jab. This is all for the good.

What is of deep concern to me, however, is what might likely be the long-term impact of this virus on the human psyche around the world. One of the thoughts that has been floating in my mind is that we will see the emergence of global violence on a scale we might not have witnessed before. This will especially be among the restless young. The long periods of isolation, alienation, and estrangement, coupled with economic deprivation that people have experienced so far are likely to be important drivers of this violence. Violence may be the single most important indicator of how people's personalities have been transfigured or disfigured by the virus.

Of course, I hope I am wrong, but one is beginning to see certain patterns developing in which people will violently resist any further attempts by governments to place any restraint on their way of life. Even Republican senators in the United States Congress are bawling that they want mask wearing to end and that people be given the freedom guaranteed by the constitution. This is so even in the midst of rising coronavirus spread in some states such as Michigan and with the resultant deaths. My fear is that there will be serious violent pushbacks in the near future against any attempt at lockdown. In this scenario only the virus wins.


Dr Raulston Nembhard is a priest, social commentator, and author of the book WEEP: Why President Donald J. Trump Does Not Deserve A Second Term . Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or