Covid is getting the best of democracy, or how proportionality, dialogue and common sense have been cast away

The deadly cocktail: protocolization of the thinking, selfishness and the end of humanism

More than 6 months have passed since the Covid crisis started. Europe is in the middle of a second wave of Covid, new containment, the anxiety poured by the governments remains at its climax since March. We are back to square one. I am not an epidemiologist, an immunologist, a WHO authority, a statistician or another top scientist; I am just a citizen, a citizen of this world. And I am puzzled. Let me start with two questions. First of all, how has it been determined that the Covid-19 was dangerous? Who established this fact and on what basis? Second, are we at the same level of understanding and curing of the virus as it emerged in March or have we learnt anything since then?

A little research on the internet to answer. I find that the Covid-19 has been classified at the maximum level on the scale of the Pandemic Severity Assessment Framework (PSAF) which determines the dangerousness of pandemics according to their clinical severity or the severity of the disease. disease associated with infection and its transmissibility. This assessment was made on the basis of figures provided by the Chinese authorities beginning of March.

It does not appear to have been reassessed since. So there comes my second question.

The portion of death over cases reported (the famous case fatality rate) has been down since its highest level in March and April when it reached a threatening 7.27% on the 24th of April. The John Hopkins Cornavirus Center reported at the end of October 1.2M deaths from Covid since the start of the pandemic, for 45.6M cases officially reported. That’s a 2.6% of infected cases, close to three times less. Moreover, since then, the WHO estimated in September that the real number of cases contaminated would probably be around 10% of the world population, or 780M people. Based on that number, the fatality rate would drop dramatically to 0.15%. Is it still true to say that the pandemic is dangerous? I have recorded in my brain, this immunologist’ words I saw on TV a few weeks ago: “Covid-19 is benign for most of the people, but dangerous for some others”.

The PASF was not reviewed, we stick to the initial analysis based on poor data, provided by a country that doesn’t shine by its transparency anyway. Even if the panic of the first weeks seems to have given way to a much less worrying situation, we stick to it and are forced to anxiety, containment, and obsession.

Since the first week, the statistics have clearly shown, it mainly has fatal consequences for two categories of people, according to their age and their co-morbidity. We know that more than 80% of cases of death occur in the population over the age of 65. Why don’t we acknowledge that the pandemic is dangerous for the elderly and look for a way to protect them with responsibility, rather than stoking anguish.

Why are we to call for life as its very principle was endangered, as if everyone was threatened? In the name of ethics, in the name of solidarity, our leaders refuse to take targeted measures. They seem to favor the economic destruction and employment, the destruction of trust and democratic institutions, the absence of education.

That is the real bad news of this Covid crisis. Not anymore in the additional daily cases, the portion of positive testing and even less in the number of additional deaths.

Indeed, the ILO announced at the end of September that 495M full-time jobs had destroyed since the pandemic started, representing over 10% of world full-time jobs and a corresponding shortfall of USD 3.5 trillion.

According to the World Bank, nearly 1.6 billion young people have been out of school since March, implying a potential loss of up to USD 10 trillion in income during their lifetime.

Our leaders respond to these statistics with more debt without asking the question of who will pay it (probably these currently unemployed workers and these very same educationless children). And they focus their obsessive short-term view on the positive rate of Covid tests, the number of cases smoothed over 14 days, the hospitalization rates of a neighborhood or a city or two … They continue to intoxicate the opinion with absurd measures and apocalyptic and anxiety-provoking speeches. As if their brains had been frozen and they remained blocked on the first fears of the pandemic, like a broken record. They cling to this refusal of discuss the issue of targeted measures in the name of ethics.

While it seems obvious that a discourse of responsibility vis-à-vis our elders should be privileged, those in power prefer that of guilt. The inability to target measures goes hand in hand with the inability of our leaders to think of the crisis in balanced terms. Proportionality is the key word; it is totally absent from the measures taken in the context of this crisis. Of course, urgency requires us to think quickly, but it should not prevent us from acting well. If, at first, we copied the Chinese magic formula of total containment. We could hope that, now more than 6 months of hindsight and reflection, our leaders had found more targeted solutions that would allow active people and children to continue to live NORMALLY, when the population at risk would be responsibly protected. One could imagine that the statistics on the Covid would also be more targeted and would really make it possible to understand the situation and the answers to be provided to the population at risk. One could also imagine that the increasingly targeted and effective drugs used until now would be recommended in an official and preventive manner rather than continuing to officially recommend only paracetamol and wait until the weakest reach the intensive cares when the infection has took over.

Red Alert! The pandemic protocols are to be followed! Compliance and protocols could be the justifications for all that nonsense? Make absurd decisions, but don’t be at odds with the rules. Don’t take any chances to be criticize. Free yourself from any reflection, interpretation or initiative based on obvious conclusions, just follow the protocol step by step. Don’t be a black sheep, follow the herd!

The lack of courage of our leaders does not explain everything. Their laziness to question does not explain everything either. It is also certainly accompanied by a complacency of the exercise of power, the complacency of paternalism. We see the same for the representatives of the medical profession, it is not only a matter of defending their perturbed routine and claim more salary. A dull joy in the exercise of a new authority under the blessed mission of saving the Life at all cost. Doctors and political leaders transformed into little Kapos defending the Unique Idea of Life Above All. The end is Sacred. The consequences of their decisions regarding any other topic than life for all are irrelevant. They are imprisoned in a day-to-day fight against death.

Our leaders anyway have had difficulties facing future challenges, as we see it since decades with the climate change. They seem to be adopting the same policy with the Covid: After us the flood… Future generations will see how they will create employments, how they will educate the children left behind, and how they will pay the delusional debt that they bequeath … Could this be one more demonstration of the selfishness of the baby boomers that are still ruling our world! Spoiled by the Glorious Thirties, this is the generation of “everything, now”! They still represent the majority at the helm and are the first (and rather the only) victims of the Covid, by the way. But the consequences of their management of the crisis do not seem to be of concern to them.

The chasm that our political leaders are digging with their useful lies and their selective truths, has harmful consequences for democracy. Indeed, this Covid-19 crisis began with a morning tweet of Donald Trump who saw in the pandemic the opportunity to assert the advantages of his democratic America over the Chinese dictatorship spreading viruses; never mind, if all democratic States ended up copying China’s brutal methods to fight their war against the virus. The democratic States then laughed at the populist wanderings of Trump and Bolsonaro, the fascist buffoons, while the pandemic was supposedly devastating USA and Brazil… Today China triumphs in its dubious miracle. These childish races of political models are absolute nonsense. We see that indeed, what is at stake is perhaps nothing else than the swan song of the order born from the horrors of the twentieth century, where proportionality, dialogue, freedom of speech were the motors. And the very democracies that emerged from it are digging their own graves. This better world dreamed by the philosophers of the Enlightenment, that emerged universally after 150 years of bloodshed, thanks to the leadership of T. W. Wilson in the aftermath of the First World War, a concert of Nations bound by humanistic values and common sense. We have lived in for a few decades since the 1950’s. And now, the scary shadows resurface and threaten to erases the romantic humanism that cradled the inhabitants of many countries around the world during the second half of the 20th century. No, selfishness is not the prerogative of the baby boomers, nor is the taste for power, they are intrinsically part of human nature. They probably represent the real virus that has teared apart humanity for millenials and will continue to tear it apart in the coming century, along with our poor planet..

I see the new century emerging from the Covid crisis. I believed it arised on September 2011 with a wanton Islamism against the established order, then in the financial crisis of 2008, with the end of ultra-liberalism; but nothing really changed. The Covid finally reveals the true century’s face, unambiguous reading of the reality through a unique prism, fatal lack of responsibility, limitless greed and a sick democracy between opportunist populism drenched in fake news and a dented confidence of the population. An hopeless, hideous, monstrous, terrifying 21st century arises, at the image of the one that preceded and surely all the other ones before it. Is it the fate of our species. Are we doomed by cyclicity and horror? Is it still time to react? Stand up, be alert it is always time to fight back. Let’s overthrow this dark emerging order on the return.

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Cédric Lombard

Cédric Lombard

Swiss, living in Colombia, Cédric is an entrepreneur active in impact investing since 2001