As countries across the globe continue to battle the novel coronavirus pandemic, the diplomatic spat between the U.S. and Canada over the export of 3M respirator masks has been just one example of how human (and political) instinct comes in to play during a crisis.
It’s the understandable desire to look after your own people first.
The European Union and Turkey have also moved to limit the export of some medical equipment.
The ‘haves’ exerting their power over the ‘have-nots’ has not only been a trend between nations. The same could be seen at the household level, with people all over the world panic-buying and hoarding items like toilet paper, at the potential expense of more vulnerable citizens.
From the very start of the crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stressed its desire that nations work together to beat COVID-19.
“This problem can only be solved with international cooperation and international solidarity,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“Health workers in low- and middle-income countries deserve the same protection as those in the wealthiest countries.”
The issue of protecting everyone equally goes beyond the fundamental issue of equality.
It’s also about understanding the very nature of a virus in an inter-connected world.
In short, if the virus is not tackled properly everywhere, it will come back again, everywhere.
“One of the critical issues that we’re working on globally is to have people understand this is truly a global problem,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of vaccination charity Gavi the Vaccine Alliance.
Berkley told Global News he worries that if richer countries ignore the developing world, then all other efforts to beat the virus will be in vain.