I was on the phone with a friend and diplomatic colleague the other day. One of us is posted in Africa, one in Asia. One of our countries has, as far as we can tell, four ventilators for the entire country. Another has no confirmed cases of COVID19, despite being surrounded by countries who do.
The Economist and other media outlets seem to be having a pretty good time with the absurdity of the latter.
Our countries, in Western Europe, are all about flattening the curve. Which makes sense if you don’t want to overrun your healthcare system and you want everyone to have the best chance at treatment. We are not running a campaign to extinguish the virus. We are running a campaign to make sure everyone gets it in waves and/or until we find a cure or vaccination.
Here, and in my friend’s jurisdiction, that doesn’t quite work. There is no healthcare system. You get it, you survive or you don’t. So flattening the curve is more or less moot, as there is no conceivable level in which the healthcare system would be able to respond.
Meanwhile, these countries are petrified to lose their harvest, and *now* is the moment people should be out on the fields ensuring there will be food in autumn.
So, what’s the point of getting everyone scared so that people won’t turn up in the fields? They might get sick a few weeks later, but meanwhile everyone will go hungry very soon and that also kills.
Frankly, if I were in charge of one of these governments, I too might be sorely tempted to say there’s no corona.