Friday, May 8, 2020

The Final Solution: Looking Back on the Pandemic of 2020

You will hopefully not contract the coronavirus but your grandchildren will no doubt remember back to the pandemic of 2020. There was a second wave of the Spanish flu of l918 which eventually ended-up lasting until 1920 perhaps because of a relaxing of precautions. Katherine Anne Porter's novel Pale Horse, Pale Rider dealt with the legacy of the disease. The sweep of the current pandemic is certainly the stuff of legend. How much of a teaching device it becomes remains to be seen. The Spanish flu affected 500 million people worldwide and is estimated to have caused 50 million deaths with 675, 000 in the US. But beyond the numbers what are the salient characteristics that will be pointed out? Will it be the fact that the illness apparently didn’t spread from China to the U.S but primarily from Europe to NY where it was brought by thousands of air travelers whose arrival went unmonitored until it was already too late. Will “social distancing” or “shelter-in-place” be some of the key words implored by posterity’s internet searches? Of course, getting back to remembrance, it may depend on your family tree? The tenth plague was the murder of all first-born sons and there are families who have experienced unimaginable losses, much like those suffered by victims of Holocaust, the firebombing of Dresden, the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the bombing of the world trade center on 9/11. Even though the pandemic would be looked at as an equal opportunity employer, not discriminating as a result of class or race, economic inequality still has been a factor, with the lower income demographic of many blacks and Hispanics making them more vulnerable by virtue of the inferior health care they receive. Or there's another possibility, that the coronavirus will turn out to pale in comparison to all the other diseases and catastrophes that were the result of global warming and that ended up imperiling the future of life on earth?

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