No Covid-19 emergency in Global South
Current national data for many Southeast Asian and African countries in 2020 suggest that the vast majority of countries in the global South do not have a Covid-19 emergency and therefore do not need to rush to purchase the vaccine.
In Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania, Covid-19 mortality rates are very low compared to the average annual incidence of influenza-related deaths. Cambodia and Laos do not have a single Covid-19 death in 2020, while Vietnam has 34 deaths and Thailand has 70 million people, and 26 deaths from the virus in 2020, according to the official Johns Hopkins University Covid-19 database.
Doctors, nurses, and frontline health workers in quarantine centers also did not lose their lives in these Southeast Asian countries, indicating the low severity of the disease compared to Europe and the United States, where blockades and curfews do not limit high mortality rates. There were also no significant deaths from Covid-19 among workers in the industrial, manufacturing, or agricultural sectors in Southeast Asian countries. Hospitals and intensive care units (ICUs) in these countries are also not overwhelmed, with fewer hospital patients in these countries in 2020 than in previous years.
The Coronavirus is Far Less Infectious in Tropical Countries
Although the Covid-19 virus has spread to all regions of the global south, it is apparently far less infectious in tropical countries than in the so-called “first world” (Europe-America): in Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, there were 204 co-morbid Covid-19 deaths, of which 35,300 tested positive for Covid-19, even though in a normal year 4,000 of the 6,000 people die from influenza complications.
Under the “recommendations” of the World Health Organization, these tropical countries have imposed economically, socially, and politically devastating curfews, blockades, and quarantines that have created fear, isolation, and stigmatization of patients living in crowded and poor communities, and increased poverty and inequality.
Many low-income and poor countries fell into a larger debt trap, and governments were forced to sell off strategic assets while offering “tax breaks” to various international companies, investors, and airlines.
Low severity but deadly policy responses
In many countries in Southeast Asia, constant changes in the announcement of Covid-19 cases without context or comparison to new confinements have kept the fear of psychosis alive, confusing workers who fear for their safety and that of their families if they return to work. Continued uncertainty and unavailability of public transportation undermine economic, social, and political activity while distracting from the analysis of relevant data.
The Hunger Virus: A Deadly Policy Response in the Global South
It was not the Covid-19 virus, but rather the Covid-19 informants, and those leading international policy, that triggered a profound economic, social, and political crisis in the Global South at this time. Calls for lockdowns, curfews, and the cessation of public transportation systems, often implemented by the military based on “global pandemic” narratives and information on Covid-19 infection figures, formed the Johns Hopkins University database, with conflicting information that led to the creation of Covid-19-phobic psychosis and anxiety disorders in many tropical countries. , and the coronavirus in these countries is mild. As a result, in countries such as Sri Lanka and Thailand, millions of people are unable to go to work and have lost their jobs and livelihoods.
As Oxfam‘s “Hunger Virus” report points out: COVID-19 is deepening the hunger crisis in the world’s hunger hotspots and creating new hunger centers around the globe. By the end of the year, 12,000 people could die every day from COVID-19-related hunger, possibly more than from the disease itself.
The Covid-19 narrative and the WHO-led global policy response have exacerbated poverty and inequality around the world, widening the gap between the global North and South while eroding democratic spaces and practices and militarizing public life and health systems: after Sri Lanka imposed a punitive military curfew in March 2020, with only four hours’ notice, WHO head Tedros telephoned the Sri Lankan president to congratulate him. A few weeks later, India implemented the same policy, and millions of migrant workers lost their jobs, many walking hundreds of miles to their deaths to get home.
Covid-19 reveals a deep crisis in the international aid and governance system
2020 has created a devastating economic, social, and political blockade that has wiped out development and poverty reduction gains in some of the world’s poorest countries, where Covid-19 is significantly milder than seasonal flu. Meanwhile, all the plastic and hygiene sprays and disposable masks further exacerbate the global plastic waste and toxic environmental crisis.