My Thoughts on COVID-19

COVID-19 is a pandemic which has gripped the world. Did we get lucky? Was it imminent? Will our world change?

For some context, I’m writing this whilst self-isolating; I’m displaying very mild symptoms of Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. I will update this post to reveal if my test was positive or negative. Update: I have tested negative.

It was bound to happen; another pandemic was a ticking time bomb. Around every century, it would seem some big pandemic comes and reminds us that disease is still an issue, still prevalent, and can still play havoc with our world. And whilst I understand that this rhetoric has been pushed by politicians across the spectrum who have mishandled the disease, it does maintain a degree of truth.

Realistically, we got lucky. COVID-19 has a low mortality rate, and the youth and healthy seems not to be so affected by it; I, and other healthy adults and teenagers, feel invisible to this disease. COVID-19 effects the elderly much more, I’m here in the United Kingdom and 29.3% of COVID-19 deaths come from care homes – a truly grim and troubling statistic.

But will the next one do this? Following current patters, my grandchildren will likely see the next pandemic. Will the next one have a 50% mortality rate, or hardly touch the elderly and weak whilst holding no mercy upon the youth and healthy? Who knows, who cares? Most of the people reading this will likely be dead by then, maybe not even passing on their family line.

After COVID-19, we hear that the world will “change forever” or “return as a better world” – I personally do not believe this. After every major world or country-wide event, we hear this; and yet it seems never to actually happen. We go back to how we were, but why? Well, those with all of the power are perfectly comfortable in the position we were in. Without sounding too cynical, I don’t think the leaders powerful nations of the world really care about a lot unless it:

  1. Hurts them as leaders
  2. Hurts the economy for a prolonged period
  3. Is a permanent event or likely to last for the foreseeable future

COVID-19 does not really tick all of these. Yes, it will hurt some leaders and the economy for a period time – but, in a few years we’ll most likely bounce right back economically, which will also probably help the leaders (if they’re still in power).

The only modern event that will/has passed the criteria is climate change, but the world is years away from taking that seriously.

I suppose it is interesting – the world shutting down. In the span of six months, most of the world was under a stay at home order, or at least some sort of restriction of rights – not to mention the destruction of the economy. I’m sure my children and grandchildren will act mildly interested when I tell them about COVID-19, but many future historians will surely find the year of 2020 to be a bit of an.. anomaly… to say the least.

Maybe 2020 will be looked back as the first time a ‘modern’ world was locked down – but by 2120 we won’t exactly be so modern. It’ll probably just be looked back as the year we had a very documented and serious pandemic for the first time.

Whatever happens and has happened with this disease, it wasn’t the first and won’t be the last pandemic of this kind. Let’s hope this really is some kind of turning point, and we do prepare for the next one.

But once COVID-19 is over, we may have a bigger problem…

“COVID-19 is awful. Climate change could be worse.”

Bill Gates

Founder, GatesNotes & Gates Foundation
Co-Founder, Microsoft