The Virus as Vaccine
As of this writing, about 86 million people have had the virus and about 1.9 million people have died. Which is a lot, but not so much greater than other diseases:
Diarrhea kills more children in four years than COVID has done so far. What’s striking about COVID is that it can kill very rich and powerful people and it spreads along the corridors of capital. No wonder it’s been taken seriously by some decision makers.
But we know this isn’t the last pandemic or the last planet busting event. With any luck, we will treat the pandemic as a wake up call and
Improve our systems across the board
Prepare for a deep transformation of our relationship with the non-human world.
I wouldn’t hold my breath, but I have hope that the virus will mark our transition as a more resilient planetary species, that deep transformation has gone from an intellectual possibility to a felt need.
If so, the virus will turn out to be our vaccine.
The Vaccine as Virus
In one of the more disturbing stories I read this past week:
It took the fossil fuel industry decades to sow doubt on climate change, but it looks like conspiracies about vaccines are emerging and spreading in real time. An alarming number of American healthcare workers are refusing to take the vaccine. The vaccine has been produced in record time, but the speed might also concern people who are worried about side effects. I think that’s too rational an explanation though; perhaps the atmosphere of distrust impacts healthcare workers seeing as they are under so much stress.
We are seeing the simultaneous launch of several global networks:
A coordinated worldwide response to the pandemic with the vaccines taking center stage.
A rapid increase in state surveillance and control.
A rapid spread of false beliefs, conspiracies and mistrust.
The three aren’t unrelated.