As the lockdown, self and compulsory isolation or quarantine of people forced by the corona virus disease pandemic eases, it is pertinent to take a look at some winners and losers within the last three months.
The Gold medalist is, no doubt, the Peoples Republic of China, a country of more than 1.4 billion people and the most populous nation on earth. Although it is alleged that the corona virus disease originated from one of its regions; Wuhan to be specific, the country was proactive in its response and was able to push back the disease faster. It was also one of the first countries to return to a normal way of life inspite of the impact of the dreaded virus disease.
China’s President, Xi Jinping, who took office seven years ago also shares in the glory of his nation. Under his leadership, the Red country has grown in stature and prominence and the communist country has stood boldly, toe to toe with the United States of America in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the economies of most countries of the world has been impacted negatively by the pandemic, that of China is still robust and its well known billionaire has emerged as a prominent do-gooder, ferrying medical aid to less endowed countries in the world.
If China was a mere challenger for the topmost spot in world politics, in post-COVID-19 world politics, it is assured of a more major role and voice and its president would be bouncing sprightly like our own dear General Ibrahim Babangida in his heydays as Nigeria’s first and only military president.
On the flip side, the country which prided itself as the world’s only superpower and policeman, the United States of America lies prostrate, dazed and more confused than at any other time since Pearl Harbour. Just as it happened in 1945, ‘God’s own country’ was taken by surprise by coronavirus and though its Congress closed political party ranks to approve a humongous bail out in emergency appropriation worth trillions of U.S. dollars and its professionals made to rise to the occassion , its iconoclastic president behaved like a boxer drunk with a flurry of hard blows to his medula oblangata. As President Trump muddled along in a reactionary manner; prescribing drugs, quarrelling with China, the World Health Organisation (WHO) his top medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci and grumbling with some of the State governors who requested for Federal Aid by way of more equipment, China was in ascendant. While the popularity, self confidence and control of the American and world political arena became like shifting sand under the feet of President Trump, the popularity of his main opponent in this year’s presidential elections scheduled for November, former vice president, Joe Biden, whom Trump derides as ‘Sleeping Joe’ is on the move, saying the right things and acting more presidential. He is now the man to beat in November.
If COVID-19 exposed President Donald Trump as a freak, the gruesome murder of George Floyd and the riots sparked by that dastard racist action has greatly exposed the soft underbelly of Donald Trump’s America. China’s and Joe Biden’s gains might yet turn out to be Trump’s big loss latter this year. Trump is the great loser here.
Prayer warriors are praying for the conquest of Corona virus disease but it is possible that a lot officers and men of the Nigerian Police Force are countering such prayer points because the lockdown and curfew season have turned out to be their best ever moment. If it depended on them, coronavirus should last forever. They were so excited while at the various road blocks everywhere, wore tough looks and harrassed, impounded vehicles and Keke from hapless citizens who breached the confinement of people and curfew no matter the excuse given by their victims. The Police also invented another synonym for bribe money, it was no longer ‘Roger’ but ‘sanitiser’! Anybody who heard the command to ‘bring out’ and give out a ‘sanitiser’ at a checkpoint who brought out the container of glycerine with alcohol hand cleanser was seen as a joke !
You needed to watch them share the ‘sanitisers’, which they extorted each day. When the policeman next door moves house into his newly completed home at the end of the year, don’t ask how he made it so soon, it is the windfall from mounting roadblocks in the wake of COVID-19. They are winners, indeed.
Another set of winners are the pharmacists, patent medicine shop outlets and traders who raised the prices of goods to high heavens. The price of a medical nose mask which was N100 pre-COVID-19 pandemic rose to N500! The smallest bottle of hand sanitiser sold for N3,000 from N1000. The price of basic food items went up and so these category of business people are winners.
Wives and children; indeed family life also won. COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting restriction of movement forced couples to stay and spend more time at home with their children. To many couples, it was honeymoon all over again while children got to know more about their parents and vice-versa. Parents no longer hurried out from their homes every morning to return to eat and sleep late at night. Most wives loved this but for the tragedy associated with COVID-19, many women would pray that the pandemic lasts forever. Yes, families won.
On the other hand, the hospitality industry got severely hit. They were forced to close. Bars, sit-outs, club houses, gyms, swimming pools, fast foods and joints – where the old and young met to socialise became desolate places. The market for ‘side chicks’ and their patrons closed and parents had the chance to live with their grown but estranged female children. Another big loser is the World Health Organisation (WHO). Led by an Ethiopian, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Organisation has lost some credibility for late reporting of the coronavirus. It has also been accused of having worked in cahoots with China. The immediate fallout is the withdrawal from that Organisation by the United States of America, its erstwhile largest patron. Another country, Madagascar has also withdrawn from it over the management of its home made COVID-19 therapy.
Another set of winners are manufacturers of health personnel protective equipments like face masks, hand gloves, foot wears, aprons, disinfectants, sanitisers including other big ones like test kits, PCU’s and ventilators. The health sector and its professionals have also been accorded much needed face-lift, more respect and importance by political leaders because of their frontline role in pushing back the virus and managing COVID-19 patients.
Worship centres and their pastors lost out. They missed, though temporarily, their stages, their offerings and those who prophesied about when the pandemic would end or those who failed to see its coming have lost a measure of their ecclesiastical integrity.
In addition to all these ones, the aviation sector, active politicking, education, transportation sector have lost immensely.
The Almajiri system in the Northern zones and core Muslim parts of Nigeria have lost too because it has been disbanded and the Almajiris sent back to their states of origin.
Several marriages were put off differing much hope and joy of prospective new couples. People postponed trips long planned and anticipated. What a loss.
Like everything in life, COVID-19 has been both a blessing and a curse to the global community.
But no matter its positives, let COVID-19 just go away and not return to infect and disorganise the world.
Udeme Nana is a mass communication lecturer at the Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osurua.