There are lessons to be learned from the US, where it appears that the Covid-19 virus may soon be entering an exponential phase of transmission. California has declared a state of emergency, a school district has closed in Seattle and a cluster of cases have been identified in New York City. In days ahead, Covid-19 may spread more rapidly and there are concerns that inequalities in the US, particularly in access to affordable healthcare and medical insurance, may facilitate more rapid transmission than in other developed countries.
It is not uncommon to see women, often elderly, with infant children sitting at road intersections begging for money. It’s hard not to be moved by the plight of both woman and child. It’s like witnessing a living, walking, crawling billboard advertising poverty, unemployment and hunger.
The danger of a virus that could rapidly spread across the world and potentially kill millions of people has long been warned of. As far back as 1996, the World Health Organisation was warning that 17-million people a year were dying prematurely because of infectious diseases and that ‘at least’ 30 new diseases had emerged in the last 20 years which ‘together threaten the health of hundreds of millions of people’.