2020 vision

We’re just around the half-way point of this year, and looking back it’s clearly been nothing short of truly awful. Three months ago, at the “first quarter” mark, I was offering a practitioner’s perspective on working from home (WFH). In the past few days some businesses have started to reopen, though the advice remains to WFH if you can, with very good reason as these depressing numbers will explain:

  • Over seven million infections confirmed (two million of whom are in the USA).
  • Over 400,000 dead, a quarter in the USA.
  • USA, Ireland and the Netherlands have the same per-capita death toll (~0.035%, or 350 per million[1]).
  • UK toll is 620 per million, Italy 560, France 440.
  • Half of the workers on the planet (~1.6b) are at risk of losing their jobs[2]. (Millions already have!)

With this kind of catastrophe going on you’d think there’d be no capacity left in humanity to make matters worse. But there you’d be wrong because we seem to have this knack when stuck in a hole to keep on digging:

  • Worldwide protests against colour/race-based discrimination by authorities, prompted by the dreadful public death of man being forcibly restrained under the knee of a law officer in Minneapolis[3].
  • Brexit has reared its ugly head once again, and we’re all charging towards that light at the end of the tunnel, to turn it off[4].
  • International economic sanctions; breakdown of the Korean détente;  awkward situation at the India-China border etc.

Finding any good news is increasingly difficult. Yet somehow with perseverance there are flickers of hope. Take that last item, the India-China standoff. As I type, I can see reports that the two sides have reached some agreement and tensions are de-escalating.

While Brexit is a constant thorn in the side of most Europeans (which includes the UK, the EU and nearby countries), it looks like Borris and Ursula are going to have a serious conversation in a few days as the deadline for agreeing an extension looms[5]. Fingers crossed.

As for the pandemic, the near universal decimation of our economies and the growing death toll, the figures show a gradual decline in cases and many countries are already easing their protective measures. The Americas, north and south, still have some way to go, though their piecemeal, almost apathetic responses in some cases will undoubtedly see a prolonging of unnecessary suffering. The curve is flattening where best practices have been established and work on rapid detection technologies, vaccines and anti-viral treatments are having incremental successes.

A usable vaccine or treatment could be 1-2 years away, and even that would be an amazingly quick result. In the meantime, we take all the precautions we can and try to keep life, business and society in general ticking along, even if it’s at a pace so diminished it’s unrecognisable. If it turns out to be a better world, I won’t be too bothered about not being able to recognise it.

[1] https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality (2020-06-11)
[2] https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_743036/lang–en/index.htm
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_George_Floyd
[4] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/11/brexit-no-deal-concerns-grow-as-lockdown-lifts.html
[5] https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-53012383
[6] https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/health-family/covid-19-the-latest-on-vaccines-antibody-tests-and-treatments-1.4264937

Categorised as: LUE

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