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CV19 has changed the world but the real question is, what does the future hold in this new world?
We're seeing the effect of widespread vaccinations effectively slashing the number of new cases in many countries such as the UK and USA but other nations such as France are seeing a worrying third wave of infections.
There are also many stories claiming that the ongoing mutation of the virus into new strains that are sometimes more infectious and have worse symptoms/lethality will derail the effects of vaccination which could mean that the recent gains are only transient in nature.
Perhaps it's time to start looking beyond the end of next week and considering what steps we should be taking to assure the long-term safety of the nation.
With that in mind, I was talking to an airline pilot yesterday and he had come to the conclusion (perhaps with a somewhat understandably self-interested perspective) that CV19 is something we'll just have to live with.
The reality may be that, just as is the case with influenza, we never actually get rid of CV19 or its variants and that we'll just have to accept that every year, a number of people will get infected and that a number of those people will die. After all, that's what happens with the flu right now.
In fact, this may be the perfect opportunity to improve the fitness of the species (ie: human-kind) by allowing natural selection to weed out the weak and the stupid.
Yes, I'm joking - or at least partly joking. To be honest, I probably won't shed a tear for those anti-vaxxers who decide to exercise their right to have a room-temperature IQ and their early demise will help raise the average IQ of the species as a whole.
I bet the pharmecutical companies are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of "living with CV19" because, just as with the flu vaccine, they'll be earning billions of dollars every year by rolling out "this year's" verson of the vaccine for those who are, due to age or medical malady, most vulnerable.
As a nation, we will have some very hard decisions to make but if those choices are made wisely, we could benefit enormously.
Here's what I'd do.
New Zealand is already somewhat of a utopia on the global stage. We have a temperate climate (it's cold enough to ski and hot enough to laze on sandy beaches), very few dangerous animals (politicians and bureaucrats excepted) and a fantastic "back yard" in which to work and play. Indeed, we are the envy of many nations around the world and every year a great many people from overseas choose to become NZ citizens and make this place their home.
Now imagine if we turned all those attributes to our advantage by creating a covid-free nation with exceptionally high thresholds for entry and residency. What if New Zealand was the only nation on the planet where you could live your life in total freedom from the risk of catching CV19? Would that be enough of a lure to attract people of extremely high net worth?
Could we offer those people a life of freedom in return for a very hefty annual fee associated with their residency? Could that hefty fee then go towards ensuring that everyone in New Zealand was able to enjoy a good standard of living, access to ongoing free medical care, a propper education and the things that would complete the picture of utopia?
Perhaps that massive amount of extra money would more than offset the losses associated with cancelling the tourism industry as it has previously existed.
Another powerful benefit of this approach would be that the impact on the planet would be very much positive. Remember that all those tourists travelling to New Zealand (predominantly by plane) has in the past created a huge level of carbon emissions which future generations will certainl pay for in one way or another.
Perhaps this would require us to set up a far more effective and geographically isolated MIQ system than we currently have, so as to cater for the unavoidable comings and goings that would remain (despite the cancellation of tourism) but if this was to become a long-term strategy then those costs would soon be recovered.
Nah... not going to happen.
My prediction is that CV19 will just become one of many "risk factors" that we deal with every day of our lives. You'll still probably be far more likely to die in a car crash, a fall from a ladder or as a result of other diseases than you will from CV19 so we'll learn to live with it.
I think my airline pilot friend was right. Besides, I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees cowering in fear of CV19.
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