Covid 19: Epidemic or a Biological weapon
Amna Nisar Abbasi
The Director General of World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said recently, “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic”. Covid 19 often known as Corona virus has spread, so are the misleading, inaccurate and downright untrue claims emerging. A question arises; what is Covid-19? A friend or an enemy or a natural disaster, which came as epidemic turned into a pandemic and now emerging as an endemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, Corona virus has now spread throughout the world within a few months and has affected more than 10 million people, some of them who are critically ill and about 499,000 dead to date. In Iran, the outbreak has so far infected 83,505 people of whom 5,209 have lost their lives. Some 59,273 people have also recovered in Iran. One of the most persistent views is that COVID-19 is a man-made bio-weapon.
Iran is under increased US sanctions and it is blaming the US of initiating a bio-warfare with Covid-19. The US state department, on the other hand, through TV, social and print media has stressed that Covid-19 is planted to harm United States by Chinese. The Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami said, “Today, we are involved in biological warfare, but the country is resisting. The enemy is still focusing on economic pressure and psychological operation (against Iran) and uses every opportunity to toughen the conditions for our people.
The enemy is seeking to shape the regional developments in its own favor. Iran will definitely win the war”. The Head of the Health Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces General Hassan Araghizadeh has said “Every country is considering this matter to see the likelihood of any biological warfare behind the issue”. Allegations by different countries are leading us to consider Covid-19 as a biological warfare-imposed bioterrorism, infecting people by purpose with microorganism for some specific agenda. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officers Qiao Liang and Wang Xiasu’s stated in their book, “Unrestricted Warfare” strategy, with the “alternative methods” of war by disease being employed with the same or greater destructive force than military warfare, with unprecedented and multidirectional impact.
Even there is a controversy on DNA of COVID-19 and its origin whether it came from Bats or was artificially modified in the Wuhan’s military microbiology lab by human’s and it was accidently released. China has denied this blame but based on the intelligence reports; the US has been pushing China to provide more information on how the first humans were exposed to this virus and where they acquired it. Chinese have only released limited information to the public and international community, and they are not forthcoming even to the WHO.
On the other hand, China has accused the US that it may have been behind the transfer of this virus from the US to China when its military personnel visited Wuhan to take part in joint military exercises and they might have left or released it in China. All this can then be taken in context with what has been going on between China and the US with respect to the recent economic sanctions by the Trump Administration.
Both countries are in fierce diplomatic fight with each other to put tariffs on each other’s goods and imports in order to reduce the bilateral trade deficit. Although US was winning the war on tariffs with China since it has the biggest trade volume of goods imported from China, the economic downturn and the collapse of US Stock market as well as the drastic drop in the Oil prices have brought US economy to its knees. The world’s biggest economy has been exposed to a much higher risk and the impact is seen with millions of people losing their jobs in the US.
Not only that the domestic US industry of manufacturing goods such as automobiles has shutdown its factories, but the travel and tourism industry has come to an halt when most of the bigger airlines have grounded their planes as a result of the travel restrictions imposed by different countries to minimize the spread of Covid-19 across the countries, borders and continents.
Still many researchers, doctors, politicians and intelligence services around the world are convinced that COVID-19 may have evolved naturally. No matter which way you see this pandemic, the impact at the end of the day has been significant. While the developed countries may have the means and funding available to cope with the impacts of this economic disaster, the underdeveloped countries are the ones that are suffering from the grunt of this pandemic. In particular, most of the weak countries like Iran, with limited financial resources and budgets, spend a very small amount of the GDP on the health care systems.
As a result, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit these countries, the major impact was on the health sector which has been badly exposed because it did not have the resources to handle the patients. Not only the facilities lack proper medical equipment such as ventilators, proper protective equipment such as masks, face shields, gloves, medicines but the limited ability to provide bed facilities to patients.
As such; this is a wake call for the leaders of these countries to ensure that lessons are learnt from this pandemic and task forces are set-up with proper governance to establish world class health care facilities including testing labs and research facilities to ensure the public is protected when the next such calamity hits.
After this pandemic is over, the world will be quite different place as the change in the socio-economic domain has changed a lot including people interact with each other and behaviors towards each other.
Whatever the case maybe, we must not use this pandemic as a blame game to promote racism and respect the human values of care, compassion for others who are in need; irrespective of which religion or race they come from and which color of skin they have or whether they are rich or poor as the virus does not differentiate between any on these grounds and just kills its victims.