“I write this as a medical doctor, an Italian and a parent who is seeing the Coronavirus pandemic engulf the world. History teaches us that there is a time for war and there is a time for peace, there is a time for discussions and there is a time for silence. What we are witnessing is beyond all. Once the medical emergency comes under some kind of control, the economic damage that has been heaped on the world will by far outweigh deaths in hospitals.
Our most immediate job is to shield and protect the frail and the elderly from COVID-19, and to assist those who require hospitalization because of this infection. We will be able to do it. But, what are we going to do with the break in the social contacts that connects people to their economies and nations to one another? We, in the European Union (EU), know the price of peace. We have been at war for thousands of years and economic prosperity is the cornerstone of peace in the EU.
In two generations, we went from people and economies that were totally destroyed to people who could spend on leisure. Yes, there were economic incentives to rebuild Europe and we developed a work ethic with our hard work. That basis is now under threat.
What if there is no work available? Initial estimates say some 25 million jobs will vanish in the first flush and more will follow. Governments bear responsibility for this all governments.
For too long they have relegated health to the social sector. The pandemic has shown how false that framing is and that public health is an economic issue, the nerve centre of all human activity.
Life will come to a stand still – as it has now – if this reality is ignored.
Science and common sense must now become an integral part of economic planning if we are to emerge from this pandemic. We have the means, we have the might and we have knowledge about the necessary measures that must be available to all people at all times. But there will be a price to pay.
Are we prepared to accept that loss of human lives will be inevitable? Will global leaders stand up to this challenge? If not, act now!”
Riccardo Polosa, CoEHAR Founder