By JACK WARNER
Notwithstanding the Prime Minister most confusing Post Cabinet Press Conference ever last Thursday, the year 2020 will go down as one of the most unforgettable periods in the history of humankind.
It will be remembered as the time when the world as we know it is on the verge of total shutdown, a period where the apocalyptic dream seemed close to realisation; a period when humanity faced the real threat of becoming extinct.
The beginnings of a very morbid period showed signs as early as November 2019 with the Australian inferno, which by January 2020 had affected 80% of the 24.6 million people, in Australia; stole the life of more than 800 of its citizens with 33 deaths being directly linked to the fires, and an additional 415 deaths indirectly linked.
In the March 23, 2020 edition of The Medical Journal of Australia, it is reported that during this period, there were 1,305 admissions to the emergency department for asthma attacks and an additional 3,151 people admitted for heart and respiratory problems.
More than 15 million acres were gutted by fire and in the state of Sydney alone, the financial loss due to disruptions from smoke was estimated to be in excess of 100 million Australian dollars.
More than 1500 homes were destroyed; 480 million animals were killed in New South Wales and 350 million tonnes of CO2 emissions were pumped into the air, raising the quality of air in Canberra to 20 times above the hazardous levels. This is how the year 2020 began for the human race.
That was only the beginning
That was only the beginning. For in a small state in China – a place called Wuhan – the pandemic that is now sweeping the world had its beginnings.
No one knows how the seventh member of the Coronavirus family was born, but by March 26, 2020, the death toll was 23,963 across the globe with more than 529,057 people being confirmed as being infected and the prediction is that the worst is yet to come.
Countries have closed their borders. Some, regretfully, have even closed their borders to their own citizens refusing to accept and protect them. Thus is the immensity of the fear.
States of Emergency and total lockdown have been declared in India, Argentina, England, Spain, South Africa, Italy and parts of the United States just to name a few. Human beings, often described as social animals, are now being forced to isolate themselves from each other through social distancing, a strategy which must be employed if we are to survive.
Stock markets worldwide are in steady decline. The travel and tourism industries have practically collapsed. Millions of people are on the breadline. The pause button has been hit in relation to sport and cultural events since these have all been cancelled or postponed. This is 2020 that we are facing; an apocalypse, it seems, of gargantuan proportions.
We are facing a race against time as myths are being shattered and the reality of what we face is brought to light.
The global health industry is under threat. We cannot manufacture equipment and necessary supplies fast enough to keep our nurses, doctors and health care professionals safe as they treat patients with this infectious virus.
We are running out of space to dispose of the bodies of those who have fallen victim, especially in Italy, where more than 700 deaths are reported daily.
We may not want to admit that we are fast approaching the point when food will become a problem that we may not be able to solve, and we are not even three months in the year. Many are wondering if we will survive for the Christmas celebrations this year.
Churches have closed their doors. People’s faith in God seems to have been shattered by a disaster and which raises questions of theodicy – the vindication of divine providence in view of the existence of evil – and the demand for the answer as to why God allows good people to suffer and other such questions.
The elderly are dying. It is as if the world is making space for a new order, one which will not require the wisdom of those whose knowledge of history would be required for us to advance.
The African continent
Many thought that Africa would be unaffected and some even advanced the false notion that black people seemed to be immune from this virus.
Scientists have opined that it is not that Covid-19 is not in Africa; it is just that many countries with the exception of Egypt, South Africa and the Algiers do not have the capacity to test. This notwithstanding, there is a virus more deadly, ripping through the African continent. It is called the Lassa Fever and is now the grim reaper in 26 of the 36 states in Nigeria.
Lassa Fever is a severe viral hemorrhagic fever similar to Ebola and Marburg that occurs throughout the year in Nigeria, but five weeks into this year, it was declared an active outbreak by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control. This virus is transmitted to humans through contact with food or household items contaminated with rat urine and faeces. It is also known to spread from person to person through contact with body fluids of infected persons.
Health care workers are also under threat and many have become infected and some have even died. It is expected that more will follow that same fate.
This Nigerian epidemic which was declared active in the second week in January has already, in seven weeks, infected 774 persons and there have been 132 deaths. It suggests that Lassa Fever has a mortality rate of 4.5% compared to the Coronavirus which has a mortality rate of 4.45%. Coronavirus, however, has a higher transmission rate but if the tide turns, the effect of this active virus will surpass the tragedy that is
As is customary, this is not news for the West because once a phenomenon lacks the capacity to affect USA and Europe, regardless how morbid, it is not news for CNN, Fox, BBC and the other major networks. As if that is not bad enough, the BBC has reported that billions of locusts are swarming through parts of East Africa and South Asia in the worst infestation for a quarter of a century, threatening crops and livelihoods, destroying our potential access to food.
The report stated that the insects, which eat their own body weight in food every day, are breeding so fast numbers could grow four hundredfold by June 2020.
This has the potential of becoming a global menace and it is now threatening states in East Africa and Yemen as well as Gulf States like Iran, Pakistan, India and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Sightings of swarm arrivals have also been made in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. In a word, nowhere seems to be immune.
One day of prayer and fasting is insufficient
We have done something wrong and maybe one day of prayer and fasting is insufficient to purge our land. Just maybe we need a leader like the King of Nineveh who would rend his garments and take to the streets to call our nation to repent.
We saw the signs of this new wave of chaos in the brutal murders which started towards the end of 2019 with an upsurge in 2020 that has gone beyond the realm of ridiculous.
We are seeing an upsurge in home invasions which will likely get worse as income declines, as food no longer becomes available and as the gap between the haves and the have nots gets wider.
Delinquency, which is a hallmark of our society, will become worse unless we adopt measures to correct it. Maybe God does have a weird sense of humour because the ones who exploited us year after year now have nowhere to hide and nowhere to run. They must now face the angst and the wrath of people in the same economy, each chose not to build.
Up to now, 2020 seems to be mean and vicious. 2020 is no respecter of persons and the pain is real. I call on politicians to return all the money that was stolen while that money still has value, because the time will surely come when it will have to be thrown on the streets and no one will be around to spend it. Those politicians who are yet to steal, I urge them to perish the thought!
Only God’s intervention will save us. But we need to do that which is right.
It is time for our leaders to lead us back to God if we are to survive this catastrophe.
As of March 25, 2020, the death toll was 18,944 across the globe with more than 425,323 people confirmed as being infected and the prediction is that the worst is yet to come.