Experts should lead post-Covid 19 recovery process

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 00:00 |
Corona isolation centre.

As we contend with the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on health and economies, one thing is certain – our lives will never be the same again.

False hopes and fallibility of the existing world order have failed billions of people living in the global south.

The steering mechanism for global governance created in the mid-20th Century is outdated and requires recalibration.

Saving lives and livelihoods, protecting health and securing economies is a tough act, the pandemic has taught us.

Developing countries are disadvantaged, shackled in inequality, environmental degradation, injustice and economic greed.

Nature, the foundation of economic stability, poverty reduction and shared prosperity has a key role in better aligning human health and planetary health during the coronavirus recovery “new normal”.

The greatest calamity since the Great Depression has exerted a heavy toll on the majority poor.

This grim situation is compounded by subservience to political deception and polarisation, flawed governance, and corruption. 

While political will is necessary in combating the pandemic, politicians must not be allowed to steer the process of this recovery. That duty belongs to scientists and economists. 

Coronavirus has awakened us to the reality of a global system (ecological, economic, political, social and technological) that we are all part of seemingly spinning out of control.

It is an opportunity for media to step up and tell the world about what is amiss in our world and that the global system is under severe stress.

Our political, health and economic systems are crying for an overhaul.

With the world’s population close to eight billion, the pandemic has rejuvenated the media’s vital watchdog role as the moral compass of humanity. Journalists have robustly taken this responsibility, giving priority to the coverage of the pandemic.

Frontline health professionals and the media must guide government and the public in recognising and rebalancing the global imbalances exposed by the pandemic. Politicians may hijack the process, and lead us back to the disastrous path.

Gary Schwitzer, publisher of and a healthcare journalist for 47 years who teaches at the University of Minnesota, cautions against the “unhelpful interference of the clash of politics with science.”

US President Donald Trump did not even want to acknowledge the threat of the pandemic. When he did early on, he said it was under control.

Today the US death toll is close to 100,000, with 1.6 million cases out of 5.2 million globally. Trump is pressing for reopening of the economy, aware of its political implications in the November election.

Caution must guide the pressing need for reopening businesses, schools and other sectors, considering the surge in the pandemic. 

As lockdowns are loosened amid pressure to reopen economies, let us heed health experts’ advice for the “new normal”.

Wear masks in public places, ensure school safety, motivate not threaten or punish people who do not follow rules, and consider the introduction of an unconditional basic income. [email protected]

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