I predicted a pandemic when I wrote the first draft of my Survival Guide in 2001. That doesn’t make me a genius. Anyone who spent more than a minute studying history knew one was inevitable. One always is.
What I didn’t predict, and I’m a glass half-full, and that half is poison, kind of guy, was that so many people would fight against common sense and easy controls such as wearing masks and social distancing. I would not have thought there would be such a strong anti-vax movement that defies science and logic. That the response to a scientific issue would be politicized. That people would care so little about others that they wouldn’t try to protect themselves and other people.
This has caused me to re-assess. And that news assessment is: we’re screwed.
After all, we are still in this pandemic, no matter what the majority of maskless people believe. We have effective vaccines but our national vaccination rate is 66.4%, which means almost a third of the country either doesn’t have access, is uneducated about it, or simply don’t believe they need it. To be fair, not all of those unvaccinated are anti-vaxxers. Some people, because of pre-existing conditions can’t get it—and we need to wear masks and be thoughtful to help them. Some people simple have terrible health care given it’s for profit in this country.
The COVID mortality rate is 1.2% of infected. Now. With preventative measures and vaccines. Hundreds are still dying each day and most people think it’s long over.
Ebola has a mortality rate of 50%. Remember 2014, when we responded to a single case? We sent over 3,000 people, including military, to Liberia to help control the outbreak. And that response was politicized by Trump and others. That was the beginning of the end.
What happens when something with, let’s say, half that mortality rate, at 25%, touches down in earnest in the United States? What will our response be? Based on our current reality, it will be abysmal. It will collapse civilization and the death toll will be far greater than the mortality rate. It will take a generation or two for us to recover to a civilized level, if we do at all.
And here’s the scary thing. There WILL be another pandemic. And it won’t be a hundred years from now, as COVID was from the 1918 Flu. It will be much sooner. Why? Because fast international travel, encroachment on nature, larger and more compact populations, and numerous other realities of our modern world make for the perfect incubator and spreader.
We are in the midst of a great tipping point in the evolution of mankind. We will either move forward embracing science, logic and empathy, or we will allow the forces of hate, ignorance and superstition to destroy us.