To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.
It has been debated and proven by scientists all over the world that the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 is airborne, following its jump from animals to humans in China. It is still not clear how long the virus can survive in a burst of wind, so long inter-continental travels may or may not be a means of dissemination. However, the speed of cross continental infections is such that only human to human contacts cannot satisfactorily explain the rapid colonization in all six continents of the World. The virus moved around continents, across seas and oceans, across the land boarders, even across the Sahara, the biggest desert in the world ever so quickly, taking lives in the thousands and destroying national economies across the globe through self-imposed changes in the way we live and do business, all in a bid to contain the pandemic.
In a global war such as this there is always the need for, and it is expected that, a global leadership will emerge. From the second quarter of the last Century and until four years ago, the world most powerful nation had always taken up the responsibility of putting together the coalition of governments to fight wars of injustice, oppression, and suppression around the world. In similar manner this powerful nation had also led in the fight against emerging diseases and pandemics. That nation is the United States of America, and this time around, it abrogated its role of the world’s policeman and thy brothers’ keepers with the advent of the Trump presidency in 2017. As the pandemic slowly emerged initially, the global community waited for the policeman of the world to take on that responsibility but the world most powerful nation had dissolved into an insular nation that touts and practices ‘America First’ doctrine. And while the world was still waiting for the expected leader to take up his mantle, we all turned to the World Health Organization (WHO) for guidance. To our chagrin, Trump denied the science of the pandemic, called it a hoax, exited his country from WHO, and led the USA to become the worst Covid-19 pandemic hit country by numbers. He told his countrymen and women, and for good measure all those countries whose leaders fawn on Trump, that the virus was going to go away very soon; it has not. Next, he promoted and proffered his own theories and cure that were impractical, unscientific, and unverifiable, for his fans to ingest, even when his country’s intelligence agents had briefed him months earlier, of the danger posed by the pandemic. It was more convenient and self-serving for him to have found comfort in blaming China for infecting the World, all of which turned out to be a big mistake.
It is instructive to note that, at this stage, the two most powerful nations in the World, and the biggest polluters of the environment that may have been responsible for the spread of this pandemic were doing their own things differently without realizing that the virus that is airborne needed a global coalition and coordination of the scientists in the world working together to first stop the spread, find a cure, and research into possible vaccines. China focused on all three, but America played politics with all three but the quest for a vaccine, which was actually led by the private sector who then forced the Trump Administration to come on board and fund the various projects.
Quite early in the beginning of this pandemic, I wrote a piece in this very column titled ‘’Coronavirus By Nature, Not China Made’’, ‘’ Nature has given us the rivers, the seas, the oceans, with their marine life. Nature also gave us the land and the forests with their inhabitants known as plants, animals, and homo sapiens. But the human race which makes up only 0.01% of all creatures on Planet Earth, is responsible for 83% of the destructions Earth has suffered. The destruction of the environment has been taking place through unsustainable farming practices, overgrazing, desertification, and global warming. The signs and warnings have been there for many years, through heavy floods and mudslides, hurricanes and tornadoes, bush fires, deforestation and exploitation of land resources without replenishing the disturbed environment. The most powerful nation pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord did not help matters. Same nation has pulled out of WHO when co-operations among nations are most crucial. Presently, about four vaccine candidates have practically completed stage 3 trials. Two have applied for emergency use authorization from FDA, while the third is in the process of validating its stage 3 trial results, and the fourth is still conducting its stage 3 trials.
But just as I warned in that earlier article, I pointed out that In addition to all the efforts by the international community in seeking ways to battle the pandemic, it appears that the virus infection movement differs from continent to continent and from country to country particularly in the very tropical parts of Africa. Therefore, there may be the need for the African scientists to research into our own vaccines. We cannot just sit down and wait for the western world to produce and bring us their own vaccines that may not work on us. The research must begin with looking at the environment, land degradation resulting in the disappearance of biodiversity and the ecosystem destabilization. Luckily, some of the drug companies have carried out parts of their vaccine trials in Africa and African Americans as well as other demographics, and results have been encouraging. Notwithstanding, we must continue the search for African sourced vaccines for obvious reasons.
This question is still relevant; Must the world look elsewhere for another leadership before we are infected by another virus? In other words, now that Joseph Biden Jr., who has promised to end the disastrous ‘America First’ doctrine, is the President-elect of the USA, can the World go back to trusting in the leadership and benevolence of the most powerful nation on Planet Earth?
In this two-part article I welcome the contribution made to this question by one of my most trusted London based readers and sometimes a contributor to my writings, Akin Olukiran, who is a political and social activist. That will be the subject of the next issue.