I would like to propose an exercise of reflection on the Coronavirus and its possible villains. Since in Brazil people are trying to point their fingers and blame everyone.
I want to speak here only on a Brazilian level and leave out other issues that i lack the knowledge necessary to point out other parts of the problem, like USA, China (mostly), Italy, wet markets and Biotechnology companies.
I think of those who were Patient Zero in their cities. They just got back from a trip in Italy or the USA and went straight for family lunch. Or during the beginning of the confinement, they met with 15 people. Only it ended badly.
The first thing we do is to judge, and to judge poorly. Point your finger and say “Stupids. Irresponsibles. They have to lose someone in the family to learn. Who told them to leave? ”
I could, and honestly, I did that at the beginning of the pandemic. I have so far a clean record, apparently. Since the crisis came, I have done my part. No outings since my building have 3 infected so far. No one in my family is infected, I haven’t seen my parents in a month despite talking to them every day on the phone. Meetings only by Zoom or Hangout.
It is even easier to find the villains, the first ones who brought this virus to Brazil, because they are still from the upper class, even easier to put a sign on them. It´s easy to cartoonish them. They went skiing in Vail, they spent their honeymoon in Venice, they are the irresponsible rich men. Then they went to a luxurious wedding in Trancoso Bahia. They will pass on the coronavirus to the maid, to their employees, and will all heal at Albert Einstein or Sirio Libanês, the best private hospitals in São Paulo. And those who will die in SUS (public healthy) are the victims of lower Classes who have to leave every day to guarantee their living.
Let’s go further: we will find more villains. In my building, there are 3 infected. Panic set in. Everyone wanted to know the identity of the sick. When a state of confinement was declared in São Paulo, a resident threw a party for a good 30 people in the ballroom of my building. It was prudent to cancel, but what about the buffet? And what have they already paid? The party happened. Nobody knows about it.
Mostly gyms were open until the gym was declared a non-essential service. How many were infected inside?
Biogen, one of the largest biotechnology companies in the USA, was responsible for numerous clusters of Coronavirus infection for allowing a giant convention with members from several countries where the virus was no longer a rumor but a reality. From there, his executives, already sick and carrying an invisible enemy, packed planes in different cities to return to their families.
DisneyWorld let their parks open until mid March, religious services continued to happen, until the virus hit its Faith. In a US chorus service, 42 out of 60 present were infected with several deaths.
We will judge and punish that grandson who infected his grandfather who succumbed to the virus.
So I ask you: would you have done it differently?
In that window period between the first confirmed case in Brazil and today, where there is a crucial space of time.
I say, with all my clean record, that maybe I wouldn’t have done anything different. And probably, you too. So let’s lower the speech of guilty a little bit.
In fact, when the virus was beginning to spread in China and the first cases were confirmed in Europe, I remember that at the end of February, a dear friend of mine returned from a trip to her native Italy, from a city in the middle of the country, luckily not exactly in epicenter in Lombardy. She is not rich and not a spoiled child. Not in a single way.
Neither went skiing nor stayed at the Ritz. She went to her father’s 80th birthday and came back. She was not tested, nobody approached her at the airport, and on the same day she met me and five other friends. We taste the same drinks, we hug like friends do. Over the weekend, we all met friends, went to the cinema, met our parents.
In 10 days, the first cases in Brazil were confirmed. Not from our clusters, but it could have been, right?
When the milk spills, it is easy to blame. But remember that until recently, no one at airports advised people from infested areas to quarantine (only when the situation was out of control). Did that grandson really want his grandfather to die? (because most grandson are giving shit to grandparents, they don’t even want to waste their time meeting in person). Or he was a lovely Young man who wanted to see him?
Me and you we are a good people. We love our parentes. So why would they be any different? Because in that deadly window between the possible and the proven, they went outside and went back to their social commitments. Is it okay to call them unlucky, because yes, they are carrying a guilt who knows, its really real?
Well, now there are villains? There are. Now that we have almost 2 thousand dead and countless cases in Brazil, it is impossible not to know or not to have a dimension of this iminent catastrophe. No one is saved. No one is saved who lives in a big city but says he is too miserable or uninformed to know (I know 3 poor community residents and all of them are isolated and aware of the danger). Of course, we will exclude those in extreme poverty there, but we know that the irresponsible are in another class.
Unfortunately, stubborn people (and I have some very close ones) who insist on going out on the street simply because they are bored are not saved. My parents, over 75 years old, I think they finally learned their lesson and quiet their asses for now. A close friend of theirs died this week from Coronavirus. He died alone, without proper burial and suffocated in a hospital bed. A great person, he was 54 years old. He did his duty at a Floor Tiles and Covering Fair in March and must have been infected from there.
There is no excluse also for those who still meet 10 or more people. My friend recently saw Vila Madalena neighborhood crowded with people on the street, in clandestine bars. If they just got infected with each other, ok. But they infect subway stations, they infect people in your building, and worse, if they have to go to the hospital, they will take the place of someone who was not to blame for being infected. A security guard, a nurse who was doing their job. I hope the next pandemic we have a chip implanted in each person and that all fatal cases linked to his disobedience are tracked and displayed on his forehead as a killer scoreboard. Unfortunately, guilt is still a powerful prevention engine. But I want to close this reflection with a positive look. It has heroes, it has hope. In my neighborhood, the streets are empty. We started at the same time as the USA but our curve is much smaller. I have medical friends who left their children with someone and are working, in the struggle for a common end for everyone. Executives will receive 50 to 70% less salary, their bonuses will be suspended. Big companies are making huge contributions to help the world get through the crisis. And yes, everybody is doing little donations to help the poor. If its enough probably not, but its going. I have a great friend who has not seen her son for a month. She goes to the hospital to take care of the sick and is still exposed to enormous risk. She and all her fellow doctors. If you can, stay home. Buy only what is necessary (especially since the delivery person is exposing himself) at least during this peak period of the disease. Leave public transport to those who really need to work. Shop for your parents, help your disabled or infected neighbors so they don’t have to leave the house. If Brazil overcomes this crisis with fewer deaths and infections, we are a third world country that has put a dent in the wealthiest nations . Because after all we all call God a Brazilian.