(Second in a series of articles on the implications of the coronavirus for our times, for human history, and for the fate of the earth.)
The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has been making its way across the world, conquering one territory after another, since it first emerged in China around three months ago. There are now 185 countries where the virus has taken hold, and most of them, barring a few that took early and concerted measures to mitigate it, are finding it difficult to restrain the advance of the virus within their territories. Much like a world conqueror, the virus respects no borders, recognizes no nation-states, and cares not an iota for sovereignty. This may be one reason why the leaders of many countries, and even Donald J. Trump, an open exponent of the idea ‘America First’, have declared that the wholly unprecedented situation created by the virus concerns all humankind. “Let’s look out for each other,” the WHO’s Director-General said in pronouncing the virus a pandemic, “because we’re in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world.” Musicians, actors, and major public figures are all part of the choir reassuring the world that “we are all in this together”.