Rising anarchy, a struggle for survival, face masks, a resource shortage, doomsday cults, supply lines broken, healthcare facilities overrun or decimated – a world, fractured by calamity and isolated by fear where the strong preys on the weak, and everyone is literally armed to the teeth. We’ve seen this movie before – but few of us ever thought it would become a reality in our lifetimes.
We’ve awakened in a different world, one more dystopian or more post-apocalyptic. It is a world few of us now recognize. It’s disease-ridden, cold, and barren with more and more airplanes disappearing from the skies overhead. There is a scent of death in the air – a foul miasma that rode upon the East wind to invade the world’s great cities. In many places, highways have been reduced to little more than lonely stretches of road, remotely and intermittently interspersed with curious and idle motorists. The bustling traffic has been swallowed up by quarantines and panic is everywhere.
It’s not Mad Max, but it is – imports from China have dried up and U.S. stores could see empty store shelves by April.
The crowds in many public places have dissipated or disappeared altogether. People are wearing face- mask and are disdainfully looking at their closest coughing neighbor, as if they were a biological hazard. This landscape isn’t familiar. It’s not the planet Earth any of us knew. In the stores, the most basic of commonplace necessities, like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and medicines, are suddenly unavailable. No one made any dire announcements of impending shortages – these supplies just inexplicably disappeared. Ever since the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 exploded in mainland China, product supply lines have been stretched thin or stressed to the breaking point altogether.
About 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used to make drugs in the United States come from China. China is the world’s largest manufacturer of bulk drugs and nutritional supplements. But the list of imported goods from China that are used by most of the industrialized world goes way beyond this. All those handy tools, gadgets, electronics and everything in between, from tooth brushes to cosmetics are all manufactured, packaged, and shipped from China. Some time ago, China banned the export of face masks and the raw materials needed to produce them. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and Vietnam all followed suit. The world is now woefully unprepared for the spread of a pathogen that appears deadlier than the Spanish Flu of 1918.
Then there’s another unthinkable scenario that could result from a worsening COVID-19 pandemic. It is something few have stopped to ponder or even think about – a nuclear war. China had to downplay the full extent of the crisis in the mainland because it fears a weakened Red Communist State would be ripe encouragement for Hong Kong or Taiwan to rebel. As the epidemic worsens, Israel could perceive Iran as an existential threat and may launch preemptive strikes on that country or vice-versa. North Korea could respond in similar fashion with its estranged southern neighbor South Korea. Nuclear subs, the long main-stay deterrent of the U.S., British, and Russian nuclear arsenals – can’t afford to risk one crew member being sick since these crews operate in tightly-confined spaces and share a ventilation system. If any nuclear submarine was suddenly taken out of action due to an endemic outbreak of the coronavirus – it could tilt the balance of power and make a nuclear preemptive strike much more likely. Even more so; countries could use low-yield nukes to create radioactive buffer zones between countries to slow the migration of vast numbers of people fleeing an epidemic. Sounds like science-fiction? It might be if Tedros Adhanom, the head of the WHO, hadn’t reiterated “we’re in uncharted territory” with the virus and no one knows which direction it could go.
Part of the psychology of fear is to downplay risks and personal threats to the individual but Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, sets the record straight on why this virus is very different from influenza.
I went back through the internet records, like Dr. Leonard McCoy or Spock would do on Star Trek to check a damaged ship’s logs to determine the exact nature of the calamity. I found that the world’s foremost trusted medical authorities were warning the world 3 years ago about the coming of a hypothetical disease, called Disease X. Disease X is a novel pathogen modeled to kill between 40 to 60 million people in an outbreak. The world would have no vaccine or effective treatment for Disease X to fend off the type of virulent pandemic that could result in a severe global economic downturn. But what was even more horrific than discovering the fact that key medical officials had prior knowledge of this potential disease – was that almost no nation, with that knowledge, prepared for its possible arrival. So, before COVID-19 etches its own sinister epitaph on the 21st Century headstone of globalism; it will likely end up killing untold millions. -Alvin Conway