The Times of Covid-19 and Beyond 

KO File Photo: Abid Bhat

THE year 2020 has passed, leaving behind many unpleasant memories and experiences for most of us to observe and experience. It taught us to not be too ambitious about future, spend and invest in the present we are living in. It taught us to revisit our selfish exploitation of nature. 2020 would infamously be remembered for being the year in which a deadly contagious virus heralded into this world. Covid-19 left a devastating imprint in our memories many of us lost our friends and family members to this pandemic. The picture of the entire world was dystopic and grim throughout the major part of this year. However, since the year has passed and people around the world are rejuvenated, 2021 is being welcomed amid a new strand of Covid-19. The only silver-lining worth noticing here is the fact that the world now has a vaccine which could be affective in immunizing people against such a highly contagious virus.

Crisis creates an exigency and panic among the common people, the paranoia which was inculcated among the people by most of the countries around the globe backfired enormously. In major countries the pathetic and underdeveloped health sector got exposed, people lost jobs in millions and hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives while rowing through these trying times. In several countries a botched up and thoughtless lockdown forced people into poverty, the leaders in these countries heavily wrested their beliefs on conspiracy theories and unacceptable unscientific methods to deal with the pandemic.

Almost everyone in the working class section felt the impact of this uneven situation however surprisingly we also observed a spike in the assets of the billionaires in this time frame. It won’t be wrong to remark that the economic crisis of this magnitude wasn’t felt ever since the times of The Great Depression of 1929. A year down the line we have a situation where millions are jobless, many local businesses have shut down completely, this however doesn’t mean that this recession has impacted everyone equally. We have observed that globally several wealthiest people have profited during these times substantially. For instance, in USA 614 billionaires have grown their net worth by a swooping 931 billion$ collectively.

When novel coronavirus had broken the back of the economy around the globe, Coffee giant Starbucks came up with an initiative of supplying free coffee to healthcare workers. It’s obviously less about the sympathy and more about the business and brand promotion. In contrast to that, if we take local businesses and small scale entrepreneurial initiatives or even the laborers into account, it will be clearly seen that they have been affected badly by the crisis. The problems for such small scale and indigenous businesses worsened further due to a botched up handling of this pandemic by their respective leaders.

We have overcome a deadly disease and its impact but the consequence of a potential political apathy still awaits us. Now, with the advent of a vaccine people are seeing a bleak hope of turning back to their normal lives. This becomes more interesting to see how countries with absolute privatized institutions are going to distribute the vaccine, even in a country like USA which is infamous for a very costly medical treatment of its citizens. We have witnessed issues of Insulin injections adorning the newspapers of the US. Similarly, poor and underdeveloped countries which remain under a strict influence of US capitalism could also end up making things more unpleasant for their citizens if they follow a heavily privatized healthcare regime. The best way to rid this world of this deadly virus could be a government sponsored subsidy on the virus. But this becomes a challenging task for the governments which are mostly funded by high profile corporates and billionaires, the probability of reaping as much profit as possible from the paranoia, fear and exigency of the people becomes very high in such circumstances. The private companies and corporates involved in the development and distribution of this anti-virus can compel the governments to sell them at the price of their choice. This will hamper the distribution and immunization process in poor and developing countries particularly making it tough for them to bounce back to a normal life like the rest of the privileged nations of the world. The year 2020 might have ended but it’s too early to celebrate given the uncertainties, influence and influx of rich capitalist billionaires in global politics.

Sheikh Imran 

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