If the present world had readers as leaders, these warnings would not have been lost on them and COVID-19, the White Death, would not have caught the world community napping like a thief in the night


Several accounts have it that the genie escaped in an animal market in Wuhan, China and conspiracy theorists are debating whether it was an accidental discharge of a biological weapon. Some argue that it was deliberately released by China to show its new found superpower muscles, as proof to the United States of America that its time as the world’s superpower is past.

Its origin is still shrouded in mystery, as both the president of the United States and officials in China are finger pointing at one another. However, whichever country, between China and the United States of America, released this dangerous genie on the world, the latest global pandemic, COVID-19, the short form for coronavirus disease of 2019, arrived subtly like a practiced thief in the night and moved into Iran, Israel, Great Britain, South Korea, Canada, Spain, Nigeria and has devastated Italy mostly – causing deaths, pain, sorrow and tears. Italians are knocked down and are dazed at the tragic blows inflicted on them by the raging pandemic. COVID-19 just struck, met the world pants down and like an angel of death, is flying in the air and moving steadily on land and seas, wreaking havoc, spreading fear and imposing a new social etiquette among humankind.

This is not the first plague that has hit the world badly. It might not be the last!

Historical accounts are filled with stories of deadly cataclysms, which affected and killed a large population of people, destroying civilisations in the process. Christian adherents would readily remember accounts of the seven plagues in the Egypt of the legendary pharaohs. There was the plague of Athens, in which “people in good health were suddenly attacked by violent heats in the head, redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, the throat and tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath.”

There was the small pox pandemic which killed “over five million people in the Roman Empire”. As if that wasn’t gloomy enough, it has been reported that the “plague of Cyprian also killed 5,000 daily in Rome”. Once again, Italy, which has Rome, the eternal city as its capital, is the worst hit by COVID-19. What is it with Italy and devastating plagues, one may ask? Does the world still have credible astrologers and metaphysicists to pore over this re-occurrence?

History has also recorded the Black Death; please let us call COVID 19 the White Death, which would be fair enough because so far, the black populations appears to have yielded less casualties, whereas the white populations have been the worst hit!

It is, however, unfortunate that each time challenges like the world is presently facing explodes, people become confused and exasperated, when they should be containing it. Coronavirus disease did not fall from the sky. It was written about in black and white. Even the Bible has made allusions to it, alongside other plagues.


There was the Asian flu and in very recent memory, the swine flu and Ebola virus disease. COVID-19 seems to be so impactful because the world is now a global village. Folks now tune in, watch, see and listen to what is going on in several parts of the world as events unfold in real time.

It is, however, unfortunate that each time challenges like the world is presently facing explodes, people become confused and exasperated, when they should be containing it. Coronavirus disease did not fall from the sky. It was written about in black and white. Even the Bible has made allusions to it, alongside other plagues.

It has beaten the world black and blue and disrupted the world economy, sports, entertainment, travel, tourism and business, because most citizens of the world no longer place premium on reading written texts.

This is a tragedy, which Dean Koontz predicted accurately in his book The Eyes of Darkness, published in 1981! On page 312 of that book, he wrote “In around 2020, a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments.”

Another author, Sylvia Browne also captured that in her book End of Years – Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World.

Much earlier in time, specifically in 1551, Nostradamus had written that “there will be a twin year from which will arise a queen who will come from the East and who will spread a plague in the darkness of night on a country with seven hills and will transform the twilight of men into dust to destroy and ruin the world.” How spot on he was!

Methinks COVID-19 or the White Death is a serious shock therapy, a reality check. It is tasking the world to return to the basics; encouraging scientists and qualitative education generally to focus on finding solutions to scenarios which are likely to threaten existence on the earth.


If the present world had readers as leaders, these warnings would not have been lost on them and COVID-19, the White Death, would not have caught the world community napping like a thief in the night.

Regrettably, nowadays, the best place to hide any treasure from the prying eyes of leaders, parents and youths is inside a good book. It is as easy as that! Ask the person next to you which book he or she has read in the past three months and the chances are that you would draw blank.

Methinks COVID-19 or the White Death is a serious shock therapy, a reality check. It is tasking the world to return to the basics; encouraging scientists and qualitative education generally to focus on finding solutions to scenarios which are likely to threaten existence on the earth. Humankind may be pawns in the fingertips of unseen powers but the human race is imbued with the sensibility to push back and mitigate life exterminating circumstances caused by their mistakes or deliberate commissions.

Let the world return to intellectualism, research, development, prevention of crisis, co-operation and collaboration for good causes.

Let the world reduce the craze for materialism, unmitigated competition, acquisition of power for the sake of just wielding power, a laissez faire attitude and hypocritical religiosity.

Udeme Nana is a mass communication lecturer at the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua.