I watched a video on Facebook the other day in which Mr. Bill Gates said that the next war would not be one of military might but one of molecular might. A scary thought! And we are not prepared. He also said that if the poorer counties had the availability of good hygiene and vaccinations, the world would be a safer and more equitable place.
While doing my research for my book Grounded, I learned that Bill and his wife gave huge amounts of money towards the eradication of polio. They have done this for other causes as well, always for the betterment of humankind.
Mr. Gates also reminded us that we had a warning of the danger of the spread of viruses a few years ago with the Ebola virus. But we forget and become complacent so that we are not prepared when the next one appears.
We have behaved in a similar way with the devastation that we have been doing to our planet. Even with all the warnings from such learned people as Dr. David Suzuki, we carry on as usual. And only when it is almost too late, do we react. Or we wait until we are in the middle of a crisis such as the pandemic we are now experiencing and we are forced to react at great cost both in loss of life and economically.
Many people do not remember the polio pandemic. Maybe they are too young, or because they were not affected personally, they forget. However, I am sure those who did experience polio themselves physically or who lost loved ones because of the poliovirus, have not forgotten. I, for one, have not forgotten. And I was one of the lucky ones.
I believe the same may happen with COVID-19. Even while in the midst of a pandemic, some people are having to be threatened with fines, even jail time to force them to follow strict government guidelines to stop the virus from spreading.
Thankfully, the younger generation is speaking out on behalf of the environment and trying to affect change. As well, there are those working in medicine and research – which can be a dangerous occupation, but a necessary one – so that we are prepared when epidemics break out.
Hopefully, one day there will be a vaccine for COVID-19. Still, vaccines don’t happen overnight. It took eight years for Dr. Salk and his team to develop the polio vaccine. However, they did not have the equipment to work with that we have today. In the meantime, we need to thank those researchers as well as the doctors and nurses who put their lives on the line every day they go to work. And we must do our part in every way possible to support them and do our part in trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.