July 5, 2021

My health depends on your health (at least)

 The COVID-19 Catastrophe. What’s Gone Wrong and How to Stop it Happening Again

From the final chapter, by Richard Horton, The Lancet editor:

COVID-19 is not an event. Instead, it has defined the beginning of a new epoch. It took a virus to connect us in life and in death. We understand now, I think, our extraordinary interdependence and unity as a species. Yet our world is organised and ordered by separation, by partition – countries and continents, languages and faiths, political systems and ideological allegiances.

We surely have to use this occasion to resist and to challenge the past mood for estrangement and prejudice. We have to use this time for solidarity, for mutual respect and mutual concern. My health depends on your health. Your health depends on my health. We cannot escape one another. The liberties that we prize so highly depend on the health of all of us. We cannot say that the politics and priorities of my country are of no concern to you. They are, and legitimately so. Just as the politics and priorities of your country are a legitimate interest of mine. Sovereignty is dead.

The post-COVID-19 age will usher in a new era of social and political relations, one in which our liberties will be achieved through new means of cooperation and communication. One can be proud of one’s national culture and identity. But COVID-19 also shows the importance we should attach to our global human identity. We are social beings. We are political beings. COVID-19 has taught us that we are mutual beings too.