As time passes by, the COVID-19 crisis is shifting its orientation. The time factor is making the crisis susceptible to pressures that would define exactly where the bigger threat lies - is it the protection of the population and the NHS or is it the threat to the economy that poses the more damaging scenario as we move along this bizarre and unprecedented trail ? It’s a significant that we are seeing many businesses downsizing in a variety of ways - British Airways is a good current example - and that they are doing so having taken a strategic, long-term view of their business in any post-corona environment. That view - in broad brushstroke terms - is that many businesses are seeing the need for major restructuring in the face of global markets either disappearing completely or suffering unprecedented reduced demand for products and services - falling to a level that prudence would advise huge capacity reductions.
There’s no question that the scales are delicately balanced between the human effects of corona and the economic damage that the mitigation measures are creating. It’s a dilemma that creates the most agonising governmental decisions. Yet there is mounting evidence that the economic damage is beginning to outweigh the public health concerns - as is widely commented by the media pundits, this is pushing the argument as to exactly which is the bigger of the two potential calamities. Achieving a balance that addresses both the polar extremes is a tall order for any administration and, quite possibly, almost impossible to pull off in a satisfactory manner. There is, in short, a crossroads looming ahead at which the decisive, strategic direction will have to be laid out, but we may as a nation have to accept that living with corona is the risk we must endure (until there is a workable vaccine available) and that a catastrophic collapse of the economy is something that cannot be ignored - something we cannot afford.
Trumpy is amazing, isn’t he ? One day he says, let’s try pumping disinfectant into American bodies to fight corona (which, regrettably, many naive Americans actually have tried) and the next day he casually dismisses he ever intended anyone to take him seriously. He should, by now, have fully recognised that his electoral base is not worldly wise and probably take him at his word. Given his striking inability to verbalise coherently, every utterance is open to question. Unfortunately for a very large number of the US citizenry, his obscure and outrageous utterances are gospel - but, America is America and we are not surprised, are we !
Elsewhere around the world, in places there are some appalling scenarios - sub-Saharan Africa dominant amongst them, with huge, truly huge numbers of displaced and desperate refugees coupled up in foul camps that spread from horizon to horizon and boast almost no facilities that we would recognise as essential. These tragic populations have little in the way of hope for they are the product of war, strife and economic mismanagement on gargantuan scales and tragic as these scenes are there seems little in the way of recovery ever happening. Vast sums of money have been pumped from all directions into these tragedy zones but much of that has failed, deliberately, to reach the camps. Money is not the solution whilst corrupt and venal governments and opposition groups dominate the environment these poor souls inhabit. Removing the corrupt has long been a Western strategy, but as human nature inevitably throws up, the corrupt are always replaced by the equally corrupt. Yet now, the West can not afford to continue pumping money into this bottomless pit, and that is likely to be a long-term condition. So what will happen to these wretched souls, mostly innocent but inevitably, amongst the cultures and social norms of these regions, as desperation, need and resource all fight in an ever declining spiral do ? There is no answer to this, it is a human phenomena that has exceeded the worlds ability to resolve, the moreso amidst the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.
The world will be changed in many ways beyond our current recognition. Bristling Brock imagines that the ‘normal’ we aspire to returning to will not be within our grasp - globally. We will have to create a ‘new normal’ - an opportunity, perhaps...