The coronavirus has come as a lesson in fixing our priorities. It has exposed how fragile the world can be in the face of a health emergency.
The pandemic is punishing citizens for the unpreparedness of their leaders. Because the disaster our leaders have always worried about is a nuclear war and not a health crisis.
In their quest for dominance, countries have invested in weapons and are now being defeated by a pandemic.
There’s a lot of talk of ‘flattening the curve’, but no one will tell you whether our hospitals can even cope with the most flattened of curves.
Hospitals and quarantine facilities across the world are filled to the brim. They don’t have enough life-saving machines masks, face masks and ventilators.
In Turkey, the health ministry has roped in a defence firm to manufacture ventilators. The company which goes by the name Baykar is racing against time to deliver 5,000 ventilators.
In Britain, the NHS has ordered 10,000 ventilators from a consortium of leading aerospace companies. This defence consortium is manufacturing, assembling and testing components for medical ventilators.
In India, Bharat Electricals, a public sector unit under the Defence Ministry has been given the task of manufacturing 30,000 ventilators.
In Israel, a missile production facility is being retooled to mass-produce ventilators. The Israeli health ministry says it only has 2,000 of them.
There’s also a shortage of medicines and medical staff. Israeli soldiers have volunteered to hand out boxes of medicines and essential services to homes of the elderly.
Defence manufacturers are making ventilators, soldiers are filling up for the shortage of medics, perfume makers are making sanitisers and fashion brands are manufacturing masks. This should be an eye-opener.
The biggest threat to national security may not be foreign militaries but microbes. The world is fighting a tiny virus, all our weapons and defences rendered useless.
Armed troops and missiles cannot defeat the coronavirus, an efficient health-care system can. We need to prepare for an epidemic just as we do for wars.