First, it was global warming, now it’s global warning

“What makes for an interesting item of enquiry is how a virus with such low mortality rate and high recovery rate could succeed in bringing the whole world to a screeching halt and get people to lay down their tools of work to cower into their homes, hoping to see this thing over for the world to return to its usual vibrancy.”

First, there was a war of 5G with China and America exhibiting the superiority of their financial and economic powers and strengths. Then it came to what experts predicted as what could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back to instigate a possible war between Iran and America (World War 3). This also saw the arrogant display of military powers and strengths.

I bet in all these displays and competitions of financial and military strengths, a virus was hiding somewhere whispering to mankind: “Take it easy, the next war will not be fought with economic strength or military strength; the next war will be between humans and viruses, and the weapons that will be required won’t be drones, fighter jets or weapons of mass destruction. That war be will be fought in the science labs and research centres with the rest of humanity staying at home for their own good”.

For those of us in Africa, we least anticipated that a virus that started with few cases in a little corner of the world could spread its icy wings to cover almost every part of the globe. Scary? Not really. Because? The world has seen the worst kind of pandemics before, and this one is not one of them – at least for now.

What makes for an interesting item of enquiry is how a virus with such low mortality rate and high recovery rate could succeed in bringing the whole world to a screeching halt and get people to lay down their tools of work to cower into their homes, hoping to see this thing over for the world to return to its usual vibrancy.

Some say the virus was able to achieve this feat because of its high infection rate level. Some say it’s written in the Book as part of its end time tales. Some say it’s a bio-weapon with sinister motives of moving the world to a cashless society in addition to reducing our population.

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Some ask how come the virus is deliberately infecting and killing more elderly people? Some say it’s nature’s own method of testing mankind’s strength might and resilience to prepare us for what is to come in the future. But what is to come in the future?

Well, as to whether all these theories which have been told to the world in their various forms are true or not, I may not be able to side with them in any certain terms. My focus is on how this virus has put to test our institutions and economies of various sizes, the wisdom and discretion of political leaderships and existing systems, and how to a larger part we have failed the test.

From where I stand, if the virus was an examiner and this was an end of year exam, then on the global scale we failed. And I reason we failed because we weren’t prepared for it; that many of the political leaderships thought it was a situation that would affect only the Chinese area of the world; that we failed to learn from history; that we did not spend time and resources investing into areas which could position us to conquer outbreaks of this nature.

Though I admit some countries learnt quickly enough and put in drastic measures for ensuring the safety of their people, some more made too many mistakes until the situation overwhelmed them.

Frankly, Covid-19 has exposed to us the weakness of our social systems, health systems and the incompetency of our governments. It has challenged ideologies and economic systems, and forced us to ask “why not try the other way and see the outcome?”. It has forced us to think and consider various measures we would have hitherto not considered.

No matter the extent of the situation as I write this, we know COVID-19 will pass and go just like the others. But then again, though we may be done with this particular virus in the not so distant future, viruses in general will (may) not be done with us. They will (may) come again as COVID-19 came after the SARS and MERS.

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Question: how do we position ourselves strategically, first domestically and then globally? There are several lessons we can learn from this crisis period to help us forge more solid social and economic systems for the future. But then again, the one thing historic about history is that we fail to learn from it.

I can only hope this time will be different. I hope our present and future conversations will revolve around fostering solid health systems, ready institutions and good social and economic systems which safeguard our people in times of crisis.

As many countries are toeing the line of self-preservation and observing religiously the idea of ‘my people first’ – as it is just the right thing to do in this time, like what happens in any other crisis – I hope it will offer Ghana and Africa some lessons in building our local economies to a point where they will be able to take care of our people in the future.

As an individual, are you picking up any lessons? Are you picking up lessons which could help you safeguard yourself and your family in the future? Remember, in times of crisis those who learn and use what they learnt to position themselves for the future are the ones who survive and thrive in the evolved order that come after crisis. I cannot tell you what to do or what not to do, you know what to do. Make this period count. First it was global warming, now it’s global warning.

>>>The author is a writer and founder of ARKOH Services, a writing, research and content development group in Ghana. He writes his observations and views. Keep in touch on 0541788442 or arkohservices@gmail.com

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