In an effort to find some silver lining in this forced global introversion, we see that London & Italy have recently reported that they have seen a decrease in air pollution in the recent weeks due to less cars driving on the road. This is also means that our collective blood pressure will decrease due to not being stuck in traffic all morning, all evening and when we decide to go to Atlanta, Los Angeles, DC, Bangalore and about a thousand other cities that have been riddled with plague of not knowing how to merge properly. I would wager to bet that the phrase “eat a bag a dicks” has virtually become non-existent in our vocabulary.
This is probably making all of us realize that there are certain jobs that don’t require someone to go into an office, sit in a gray uninspired cubicle across from an overbearing colleague that insists that you MUST come over for dinner and watch their kid play the clarinet. It makes us realize that we really are and can be incredibly self determining and disciplined. This is probably why the powers that be are panicking, because the illusions they’ve put up to keep us droning on in a new evolved version of peonage & slavery are being shattered by a microscopic, spiky little organism. I wouldn’t be surprised if the virus wasn’t spread by some lonely rich businessperson who wanted to eat something exotic knowing that their employees will never taste it in their lives!
With all this reduced air pollution, it is ironic that a virus that restricts your breathing is causing the air to be more breathable. Along with a fresher, more organic air for us to breathe, there are some folks trying to come up with a vaccine using interesting technologies to help. In Australia scientists are using new method of high intensity X-Rays to map the virus to help find a vaccine a lot sooner. This technology has been in use for quite some time in our scientific communities but I think we should cut Australia a little slack, considering they almost LITERALLY burned off the map last year. Even with this process we’re still about a year away from a vaccine. So the world keeps trying its best to stave off this virus.
As some of the world is enjoying some positive news to come out these trying times there are others who make it more trying. Jair Bolsanaro, the the Senator Palapatine of Brazil, has referred to COVID-19 as “the little flu” and has refused to do anything about it because “we’re all going to die one day”. This is really not the time for a lesson is authoritarian existentialism! This is the same attitude the cocky asshole friend has right before they skydive off the airplane without a parachute beer bonging a Bud Light! If the splat doesn’t kill him, choking on the Bud Light will…or just drinking a Bud Light. That shit can’t be good for you.
It is interesting that this idea is only used to excuse authoritarian acts of laziness rather than progress. These leaders never use that as an excuse to do the right thing. They never say “we’re all going to die one day, might as well bail out the Middle Class with a few trillion dollars, universal healthcare and a moratorium on debt, rents and mortgages! I mean if we’re all going to die why die worrying about bills. Let’s die having some fun and craft beer made in your best friend’s garage! Let’s die feeling stimulated on life!”
Bolsanaro’s ignorant statements about this virus really does seem like he’s trying out machismo Trump! These chest thumping, hyper masculine leaders are playing the worst game of chicken I’ve ever heard of! No one has dog dared to you act like a teenager at the helm of a global pandemic. Meanwhile all the other countries that didn’t peak in High School are coming up a plan to help humanity and the Middle Class.
Oppositional figures and intellectuals have come out against Jair Bolasanaro to say that he won’t destroy Brazil. In a piece penned in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, they said he was the “greatest obstacle to urgent decisions being taken to reduce the spread of the infection”. We’re basically 3 days away from Bolsanaro in a defiant effort to prove his balls are bigger than the brains of scientists, ordering folks to just cough on each other. They’ll be fine! We’ll all die one day, why not today, right? I don’t know what’s worse, Republicans in America asking old people to die for the economy or Bolsanaro asking his citizens to die for his ball size?
Now this has brought out community efforts to implement quarantine measures, but not in the way you might think. Gangs in Brazil are coming out to enact a curfew and ensure people socially distance from each other. They are saying that if people don’t stay indoors they’ll have show these folks how to respect each other. I’m not sure this is a better alternative to Bolsanaro. We just tipped the scales to the opposite direction. These gangs are operating on the same philosophies as an abusive parent, “I beat you because I love you! The pain you feel is my love burning through the bruises! And if you look closely one of them looks like a heart!”
As Brazil is battling with extremes and possible renegade scientists, Sweden has a completely different approach to the pandemic. Instead a total lockdown they approached the situation with logic, pragmatism and their intellect, instead of panic and hoarding toilet paper like it was going to the currency of the future! Look if that was going to be currency of the future, the banking industry would’ve seized all of the Toilet Paper and asked you to fill out forms and put your house up as collateral to take a shit.
Sweden decided not to shut everything down and collapse their economy without a plan to take care of its people. As 90% of the airline industry came to a halt, they retrained and reallocated their staff to help doctors & nurses with administrative work & equipment sterilization since they figured that this pandemic would overwhelm the medical system. Which proves Republicans and stubborn blue collar workers wrong when they say they can’t be retrained for better jobs than working in a coal mine or a dangerous factory that will one day be run by robots.
Sweden also restricted gatherings of 500+ people. And bars & restaurants operate on a table service basis, which means small businesses haven’t been affected as negatively as they have been in the states or countries that are on a full lockdown. They did close Universities, but kept schools open for kids under 16. Their thought is that the younger kids need the structure of a formal education while the older kids can figure out how to manage their time a lot better on their own. This means that in Sweden there aren’t parents who have gone comatose while watching Frozen and Moana for the millionth time! There are parents in America that have PTSD thanks to Disney and Kirsten Bell’s lovely singing voice!
They also figured that people can go about living their lives as they would and if they were to get sick, they should quarantine and make sure they don’t come in close contact with the elderly or the immunocompromised. Essentially Sweden is practicing the idea of herd immunity. Now one would think that this would mean a higher risk factor for their population but in reality, Sweden’s numbers are no different than Norway’s who is on a complete lockdown! They’re both at about 3000 cases of people testing positive for the virus! And Norway is less populated than Sweden so that means that percentage wise, Norway has a higher density of people that have tested positive for the virus through a lockdown!
This pandemic has the potential change humanity for the better. We can learn important lessons from each on a global scale. If we are open to intellect, reason and stoicism instead of panic and hubris, we can probably create a society that that is more nurturing and compassionate. We can come out of this without gang rule and renegade scientists and over sheltered humans, but rather a more intellectually evolved being that is a true breath of fresh air for the planet.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!