Intruder, invader, influencer virus

A post-pandemic state and the 'new normal' only serve to hide the real pain and decay that encompasses humanity



by

Allan Jacob

Published: Sun 19 Jul 2020, 9:43 AM

Last updated: Sun 19 Jul 2020, 11:45 AM

Celebrities, influencers, and the powerful who have lost their voices to the coronavirus are speaking in one voice against this invisible intruder. The winner has been crowned, but it's deadly and dangerous.
Populist leaders have reluctantly ceded physical and media space after more than six months of deceit, defiance, and denial. The coronavirus has been the show-stopper of 2020 drawing on its vast spread while developing a sinister personality cult of its own.
Masks have filtered out the best that humanity can offer and the current order is dictated by the tiny germ that has unmasked society's dormant and deepest fears. The towering coronavirus 'figure' of the Covid-19 disease has been the most pervasive; it has shown the powerful their place, their rhetoric and rants have been muted by its rapid rise.
Media, meanwhile, has developed a strange affinity for the virus as it actively tracks the unseen strain that has triggered reactions that belie mass helplessness, dread, and despair. The naked aggression of the pathogen nonetheless, celebrities are raising their protective voices, peddling influence virtually for a cause while they are forced to put their careers on hold.
Governments proclaim: 'We shall prevail against the virus,' a chant of uncertainty that borders on posturing until a vaccine or cure is found. Think about it: A micro-organism just 80-120 nms in diameter has put strongmen, despots, movie stars and socialites under extreme stress during a year that is fit to be dumped in the dark recesses of history.
Some leaders had hoped to scare the coronavirus away by urging the masses to light lamps and beat drums and pots and utensils. Celebrities joined the party with their flock. Sadly, they only succeeded in enhancing the deadly cult status of the micro-invader. Others denied its existence or arrival with the goal of consolidating power in democracies that have borne the brunt of its wrath.
The United States, Brazil, and India are now the worst affected countries with more than a million cases. Come to think of it, democracies are ideal breeding grounds for the strain. The disorder and divisions among people and the fight for rights is the perfect setting for the viral monster that tramples on dense populations.
This is also the dawn of a new realisation. The deadly viral beast drives the data with the number of cases and deaths dictated by the germ while scientists come up with fresh revelations and projections about its behaviour that can be termed erratic and unpredictable.
With the microbe lurking in the air or on surfaces, people have embraced the virtual with gusto, an escape from the frail reality of the present. A post-pandemic state and the 'new normal' only serve to hide the real pain and decay that encompasses humanity. Health nirvana may be coming when humans transcend the current state of death and disease. One hopes it is soon, but will it be delivered to 7 billion people around the world?
Seven months, 14 million cases and 600,000 deaths show that humans are moving targets for the virus. Who knows, people will learn to adapt and live with this intruder as it makes itself comfortable in the daily discourse, consumes lives, settles, and becomes endemic in the population. The habitual, seasonal offender has sanitised the world of real human interaction, heightened hygiene levels and put a strain on social and financial habits.
Only fools dare rush into places where the germ lurks. Wise men and women who proclaim their love of life and liberty at every opportunity have realised that the best form of defence against the coronavirus is to remain masked, muted, and immobile, if they can. Indeed, stillness and aloofness help keep the pathogen away.
Resistance has been shredded, time to move on to acceptance. The contempt that once greeted the arrival of this germ has now given way to covered respect. The powerful have been forced to wear the face cover, the smirk is gone, yet they attempt in vain to be defiant.
This pandemic could herald a cautious social beginning. Society will find stability digitally, chaos will be contained. For the coronavirus is a conflicted and split personality through its mutations with a reputation that precedes the destruction it can cause.
It views humans as subjects who can be exploited and their bodies pillaged. The planet is a colony for this microbe that has mutated from being an intruder to an invader, and is now a colonist. What's more, this germ is the year's biggest influencer. Humanity has come under its spell. - allan@khaleejtimes.com


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