Perhaps the top ten “lessons” for humanity, to be learned from the current worldwide crisis, are to:
1. Show greater respect for the delicacy of mother nature’s careful biodiversity balance and climate control on the planet that humanity, a relatively new arrival, shares with so many other species, plants and organisms, many of which are under threat due to the thoughtlessness and greed of humans.
2. Recognise that if the ongoing illegal poaching and illicit export of exotic animals into the wet markets of China had been treated with the seriousness they deserve and require under the rule of law, there would be no corona virus crisis.
3. Get real about countering corruption with impunity, especially of the trans-border kind that enabled and gave rise to the current crisis; an International Anti-Corruption Court and better machinery of state at local level are needed to end the impunity the corrupt enjoy. If the poaching syndicates were in jail the pangolins would not be in the wet markets.
4. Address the vulnerability that stark inequality of means and income causes when the poor are placed under the type of stress that the crisis has elicited; this involves greater attention to the UN SDGs – especially those that focus on the need for good governance and the elimination of poverty.
5. Realise that adequate health care for all is a basic human right that is currently inadequately delivered in the world, including in rich nations like the USA, but especially in the poorer states in the third world; act on this realisation in ways that render health care more accountable and more accessible to all.
6. Respect the inherent human dignity of those who have been exposed to the virus.
7. Work co-operatively to stop the spread of the virus in the ways the best science suggests especially at individual level by boosting immune systems via appropriate hygiene, exercise, sleep and diet regimens with supplementation if needed. Those living with compromised immune systems are individually far more vulnerable to infection and death from exposure to the virus than those in rude good health.
8. “Do as you would be done by” when developing personal strategies for coping with the spread of the virus and the potentially deadly disease it brings with it. This lesson involves educating the public to be engaged and participative citizens reacting responsibly and accountably to the crisis.
9. Use the interactive features of cyberspace as a means of reaching out to those in isolation; we are a social species and isolation is not our natural comfort zone. Skype, Zoom and all forms of social media can be harnessed to mitigate the loneliness of isolation and its mental and emotional side effects.
10. Pray, together using cyberspace, and work every day towards the effective, efficient and economic use of resources to develop a successful and universally available vaccine that renders the virus harmless as soon as is humanly possible.
Paul Hoffman is a director of Accountability Now