Tuesday, May 21, 2024

CORONAVIRUS

It is no doubt that globalization is making the world a better “village” to live in, but the coronavirus in this case can also be seen as a metaphor for the danger this rapid globalization brings.

Writes: Xhelal Neziri

The spread of contagious diseases around the world is not a new phenomenon that we have seen with Sars, Mers, Chicken Flu, Swine and more recently with coronavirus.

The plague called “Black Death” in the fourteenth century killed 100 million people in the region of Europe and Asia, at a time when the world had a population of 450 million. This plague that appeared in Asia, through the Silk Road used by traders at the time to transport goods, was transferred to Europe. At a time when religion had suffocated science, every disease was viewed and accepted as a supernatural will. European societies of the time sought the “culprits” of this disease in various social categories, which eliminated them to stop the plague. At the time, they did not know that the plague-spreading bacterium was carried by mouse who traveled hidden in grain sacks brought by traders from Asia to Europe.

As a result of dogma, instead of seeking medicine, this plague created a series of religious, social, and economic upheavals, with profound effects on the course of European history. The “Black Death” is estimated to have killed one third of the European population. It took 200 years for Europe’s population to return to its previous level. The plague was repeated several times as an epidemic until the 20th century, and occasionally appears in some African countries. After World War II the bacteria causing plague was developed as a chemical weapon by various states.

What people have not known is the presence of viruses and bacteria that spread through the dirt. The importance of hand washing for health was first recognized in the mid-19th century by two pioneers of hand hygiene: the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis and Florence Nightingale, the Englishman who founded modern nursing. At that time, most people still believed that the infections were caused by the hated odors called myasmas.

The spread of swine flu in 2009 led to increased awareness in many countries of the importance of washing hands with soap to protect themselves from such infectious diseases. In fact, hand washing eradicated over 70 percent of diseases.

Now humanity is again at a new risk, caused by a new corona virus, until now unknown to scientists. At the end of December, appeared in Wuhan, China, two months later to spread almost worldwide, reaching North Macedonia. The speed of Coronavirus spread shows how globalized and interdependent the world has become. Given this fact, then the response to this risk should have been global, not national or continental as it is now.

Coronavirus has so far had a significantly lower mortality rate than previous viruses. Of those infected, only 2 percent have died, most of whom have had complications due to other illnesses. On the other hand, SARS in 2003 had a mortality rate close to 10 percent, while MERS in 2012 caused the deaths of over 30 percent of those infected.

Globalization is no doubt making the world a better “village” to live in, but the coronavirus in this case can also be seen as a metaphor for the danger this rapid globalization brings. A conflict in the Middle East, Africa or the Far East is also a problem for Europe and America, where people escape to find peace and a safe place to live. A terrorist organization that emerges in a distant state quickly spreads across the globe and as such is no longer the problem of just one region. A corrupt government on the corner of the globe can spread this phenomenon even to countries with healthier democracies. Everything now goes beyond borders. No one can and should no longer remain indifferent to an event or occurrence thousands of miles away.

In this particular case – that is, with coronavirus – we just need to have clean hands and make it disappear just as the previous epidemics and pandemics in human history have disappeared. Nevertheless, the message that this virus carries goes far beyond the health risk. / CPD

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