While nations that had access to Covid-19 vaccines rushed to inoculate their citizens, others watched helpless as the virus wreaked havoc in their countries. In the meantime, as I said would happen (check my posts on the topic dating all the way back to the beginning of the outburst), new strains have developed and countries that thought they had already seen the worst are reemploying, or considering reemploying lockdowns and other restrictions on gatherings.
Even while countries could provide vaccines to other countries, they did not. Worse yet, some governments could provide their people with vaccines but chose not to do so for political reasons. These vaccine wars show we haven’t learned a thing and, as a result, we will have to learn another lesson, and probably a more painful one.
As I have written countless times since the beginning of the pandemic, the virus will not let up until we change our relationships. Our ill-will toward each other is its energy source. This is what keeps it going, mutating as it travels from country to country and becoming increasingly contagious, so that vaccines that provided herd immunity before no longer do so.
But instead of learning, we are behaving like children who were sent to their rooms (lockdowns) as punishment, to think about what we did wrong. Yet, instead of drawing the required conclusions and admitting that we misbehaved toward each other, we are waiting for the removal of the punishment so we can go out again, play, and fight with one another as before. We will not be allowed to do that anymore. We will be forced to rethink our lives, our values, our relationships, and the purpose of our lives as a whole.
Perhaps the best example of the foolishness of our behavior is the way we are handling the vaccination efforts. First, instead of launching a global coordinated effort to develop a vaccine, numerous companies in numerous countries launched independent researches and competed against each other. Clearly, the vaccine could have been developed for a fraction of the cost and could therefore cost a fraction of what it does. This would make it available worldwide and financing a worldwide vaccination program would not be an issue.
Second, now that some countries have vaccines, they either keep it to themselves, or sell it at a huge profit. It turns out that while all of humanity is fighting the same enemy, it is fighting it with armies that are fighting against each other while fighting the common foe. This gives the virus time to generate new strains that defy existing weapons and renders humanity’s efforts to fight it ineffective. In short, we are not losing the war against the Covid virus because it is so lethal or infectious; we are losing it because we are so divided.
This division will cost us heavily with more loss of life, more economic crises, and more disruption to our lives. The sooner we learn that Covid is not my problem, your problem, or their problem, but our problem, the problem of all of us, the sooner we will find a way to end the pandemic. And once we learn how to cooperate against Covid, we will, hopefully, learn that this is how we should operate from here on concerning all our matters, since today, in the global village, every problem is everyone’s problem.
A Detroit resident rolls his sleeve back down after receiving the second dose of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a mobile vaccination clinic led by Central City Integrated Health in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., June 21, 2021. REUTERS/Emily Elconin