Life with SARS-CoV-2, or the infamous Covid-19

This is the heart of capitalism – competition at all costs. Now that the vaccine is out, we have to see how effectively it will be delivered to the world’s population.

By Nasreen Pejvack

Art by Brendan Burke

Covid-19 is not a completely horrific pandemic. Nevertheless, doesn’t it highlight a broken Capitalism? A pandemic arrives and suddenly the whole world is in a shambles. Each country is struggling and doing its best to get their people through it, and working to somehow ensure that its economic wheels turn properly.

Meanwhile, pharmaceuticals are racing to produce a vaccine; of course to help end and eradicate the pandemic, but more importantly to be the first to see profits, and for the prestige of being the first to present it, as if this is a game to be won.

This is the heart of capitalism – competition at all costs. Now that the vaccine is out, we have to see how effectively it will be delivered to the world’s population.

Through 2019, most investors expected to continue their feast, as they were profiting well and were expecting to go on doing the same into 2020.But the Novel Coronavirus arrived, and knocked out businesses and jobs. As a result, the Dow went from record highs into a bear market. One may wonder, what does a virus have anything to do with the stock market?

Well, a major feature of investing is prediction, and the arrival of the virus brought incredible instability. With too many unknowns, predictions were too difficult, and fear began dragging the numbers down harshly. I ask myself, why does the world economy need to be enslaved to stock markets or Wall Street? How can we say that stock trading is a dependable or consistent measure of economic strength when our economy shows ever more disconnection from financial reality, leaving the working people of our planet increasingly in distress?

In this pandemic mayhem, travel ground to a halt, affecting business meetings and trade shows, and many businesses big and small shut down sometimes opening up again, then shutting down once more. People couldn’t work and began accumulating unwanted debts and were unable to pay rent or mortgage. Industries like film production and theaters, tourism, and transportation, sources of income for millions of employees across the world, experienced widespread closures, and so generated huge unemployment throughout the world, critically distressing the world’s economy. Though governments are doing their best to move on, many of the wider effects are still unknown, and we are all unsure of what life will look like afterCovid-19.

Not surprisingly, these crazy times have revealed various forms of racism inspired by the pandemic.

Not surprisingly, these crazy times have revealed various forms of racism inspired by the pandemic. As we see on TV news, or hear of and witness ourselves, some of our citizens are targeting people of Chinese descent, just because the virus originated from China. Trump keeps repeating “China Virus,” thus creating xenophobia against Chinese Americans, to be mimicked soon after by our copycat ignorants in Canada.

But those very racist people do not see a notable fact that China, with a population of over a billion, tackled the coronavirus problem effectively, and today has one of the lowest infection rates in the world. With that population, they did not even reach 90,000 cases; and as I am writing this they have recorded only 4,634 deaths. To me that is called proper management. As for America? They have the record-breaking highest number of deaths. Why? Because their malignant narcissistic uneducated leader never took the situation seriously enough to act upon it effectively.

We have experienced how, in different situations, outbreaks create fear which opens the path for racism and xenophobia to reappear, as we don’t have systems in place to adequately educate our citizens. Throughout our history, transmittable diseases have emerged from one corner of our world or another, such as the Spanish Flu that originated from Kansas but somehow was blamed on a country an ocean away. Discriminations yet again.

You cannot fight a virus with politics, but only with science and compassion for all people. Those principles should then be applied by federal, provincial, and municipal governments in the work of protecting people, but we sometimes see structural racism shaping the distribution of social benefits in regard to the health of people, with different jurisdictions thus having different ratios of cases and deaths.

The future of the world after Covid-19 relies on well-functioning health systems with universal coverage, social inclusion, justice, and solidarity – everything that capitalism is unable to offer.

Any pandemic increases demands on resources and immense stress on social and economic systems. The future of the world after Covid-19 relies on well-functioning health systems with universal coverage, social inclusion, justice, and solidarity – everything that capitalism is unable to offer.

History has shown that pandemics always caused large global recessions. Certainly, after Covid-19, we all will have to face the consequences of widespread economic damage and a huge drop in value of gross domestic product (GDP) across our world. However, those who suffer the most are low income families, no matter how much
governments help. A financial crises is on the way, so have a plan and brace yourself, as ongoing distress from this pandemic is inevitable.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread globally, and the consequences are far more significant than the efforts to quarantine, or the little bit of money governments are giving to their citizens. Our hospitals have never encountered such an influx of patients with a highly transmittable disease, so inadequacies in the infrastructure, capacities, supplies, and staffing are being highlighted, all while the numbers of patients grows by the minute. Furthermore, since perhaps WWII, the world has never experienced such huge unemployment. But we cannot compare the two, because after WWII there were all kinds of jobs to rebuild the world and its economy. As for this pandemic, the world is still in place, but the people are either jobless or may be incapacitated by long-term effects of the virus. After shutting down businesses and sending people into quarantine, we may be left to our own devices to recover. Will there be a campaign to rebuild and repair all that?

Now that the vaccine is here, after the front-line workers and seniors get it, who will be next and how long will it take? We shall see. And it is the case that some don’t trust the vaccine at all and do not want it. Why? Well, it seems people’s trust has been compromised by a system whose policies and dictates have been governing the world only according to the needs of the few.

Moreover we may soon have temporary food shortages, price spikes ,and disruption to markets, which will hurt everyone but will be felt mostly by vulnerable populations who depend on unstable markets or humanitarian assistance to maintain their livelihoods and food access. The UN has declared that food shortages will increase the plight of refugees and countries that already are dealing with displacement and hunger.

I hope that through all this pain we have learned something about how to handle such a situation, and that the verdict doesn’t just become forget and move on.

I personally embrace the idea of a well-ordered society in which no one suffers just to keep their head above the water. In my latest sci-fi novel “Luyten’s Star,” I describe a society on a utopian planet where nobody is being paid because no one needs money. Everyone contributes to society by working five hours a day in businesses, factories, and institutions that operate 20 hours a day over four 5 hour shifts.

There is no requirement for banks or any financial institutions, and people simply pick up their groceries, clothes, or whatever else they need at stores and depots. They access free Medicare and education throughout the planet, and go on vacations anywhere on their plane with no expenses. Which one of our economists can even imagine and plan such society? None, as they are too dependent on wired into corporate compensation.

Our planet is rich in resources. We have abundant resources and fertile lands for food, and if the wealth of the planet were not controlled in the hands of a few, everyone could live a comfortable life. Brainstorm about this – it’s an attainable goal

Nasreen Pejvack

Nasreen Pejvack began writing as a Canadian author in 2014. Her debut novel “Amity” was published by Inanna Publications in October of 2015 and was a finalist for British Columbia’s 2016 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Following that successful novel, she went on to complete “Paradise of the Downcasts,” a collection of short tales and essays inspired by her experiences of life in Canada. She also has a collection of poems entitled “Waiting,” and both books were published/printed by McNally Robinson in 2018. In Nasreen’s stories, her characters give expression to her life’s learning and experiences in order to relate narratives relevant to the concerns of our time. “Luyten’s Star” is her newest publication, a sci-fi novel.

Nasreen Pejvack:

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