Edited by Nick Ebden
Three months ago, if someone had told you: ” The schools, hotels, restaurants, mosques, churches, museums will be closed, almost everywhere in the world, there will be no flights, there will be no one in Kaaba, and cologne will be more valuable than oil” Who would have believed it? We are witnessing the coming of a new world and at the center of this new world is the Corona virus. Now you have to deal with new enemies, such as the clothes you wear, the door handle of the apartment, the hand of your mother. Soap, cologne, face masks, loneliness are your new friends.
It began in the city of Wuhan, China. Although the Chinese government tried to conceal and discredit this virus, it soon spread across the whole world. The two main culprits in the virus reaching this pandemic level, are China and the World Health Organization (WHO).
WHO commonly labels these viruses with the geography from where it originated (The Rift Valley Virus is from the Rift Valley in Kenya; Crimean Congo, Crimea in 1944, currently in Congo; Zika Virus, in Uganda, where the Zika forests are located, Lassa Virus originates from Lassa, a town in Nigeria) changed the name of this disease, originally named the Wuhan virus, as a result of pressure from China. The most recent version is called Covid-19. As if that was not enough, they removed all the text on their website related to the words; Wuhan and virus. The Wuhan virus suddenly became Covid-19, it’s worth noting that China is the second highest donor of funds to the WHO after the USA.
WHO claimed at first, “everything is under control”, “We are cooperating with China”, “This virus is not pandemic” even though there were thousands of cases in hundreds of countries, they did nothing. Finally, three weeks ago WHO declared: “Oh dear, we were wrong, this is a pandemic “. When some countries took the decision to cut off flights to and from China, WHO claimed, “There is no need to cancel flights, China has taken everything under control.” That’s why many countries like Turkey continued their flights.
From the beginning, China has tried to conceal and deny everything about this virus. An ophthalmologist named Li Wenliang made the first declaration concerning this virus in December 2019 and began to warn those around him. Of course, he filed a lawsuit against the state mechanism and dismissed himself by saying that what he said was intended to bring the people to panic. Li Wenliang began to explain the situation using social media and in a sense created awareness of this virus around the world.
If I was the WHO I would not have used ‘Chinese’ to name this virus, at least I would call it the Wenliang virus, as it certainly originated from Wuhan! Isn’t that how the Spanish Flu came to be known?. Unfortunately Li Wenliang also fell victim to the virus and died at the age of 34 years. The Chinese government even tried to find an excuse for it, they spread the news that he did not die from the virus, but in the end they agreed. I think that the Chinese government, which first ignored the virus has not been transparent throughout this process. The governments of all the world countries are no different to China, except for countries such as South Korea and Italy. No government gives real numbers, saying “Oh, don’t panic the public”. While there are a significant number of cases in all the countries around you, is it possible for Turkey to have it’s first case by 12th of March?
The world has passed a major test and continues to pass. The main reason why all the countries are caught so off guard is that the virus cannot be fully analyzed. Consider that even the incubation period of the virus has constantly changed. Continuous disinformation prevails. Some looked at the data, making it simpler by saying “even more people die during the seasonal flu”, some commented “unaware of the shape of the world” saying “the virus will not be active in summer”, some say “white breeds are luckier, lighter in countries like us”, etc. marginal and unfounded comments made. But one of the rare things that have not changed since the first day (at least in our country) was the idea that “this virus kills the elderly”. However, Li Wenliang, who made the first diagnosis of the virus, was 34 years old. Hundreds of young people all around the world have passed away.
Many of us are now specialized on this virus. I can say that by digesting a little with my most pessimistic state:
– This virus is very dangerous and fatal.
– Although getting sick is an issue, the real problem is getting caught up in this time. If all of the hospitals are full and there are not enough respiratory equipment, etc., you have no chance to get caught.
A vaccine for the virus will of course be found.Until then, we do not know how we will be. This virus will always exist. Perhaps we will witness more deadly viruses than this, but it is very important that this culture of protection is continuous.
– We are going through very bad days, even worst yet to come.
Elif Ata, April 2020 İstanbul