The ongoing conversation about waivers on COVID-19 vaccine patents is, at best, symbolic; at worst, demagogic. Even if a million labs around the world had the means, the know-how and the raw materials, which they do not; and were able to somehow fly through the trials and succeed, the fact remains that the virus will continue to mutate and the vaccines will never reach the world’s population on time.
There will be new ARN viruses, each one faster and deadlier. We are simply unable to make and distribute antidotes fast enough; even if the patents were released, this frantic race is pointless.
If we are to beat the virus, we must enforce the most effective defence mechanism of our species: the collective intelligence.
It is free, safe and universal.
The virus will die out only if we (a) all (b) stay still (c) at the same time. What is needed, thus, is an international concord by which all Governments agree to a global, complete and simultaneous lockdown for at least fifteen days, maybe twenty.
All economies must come to a halt simultaneously.
This means shutting down financial markets, bank transactions, warfare; postponing sporting events, concerts, emptying parks, television sets and newsrooms. No live TV or radio shows, unless they broadcast remotely from the journalists’ homes. Close frontiers, transportation, schools, shops, activities except hospitals and food delivery. Furthermore, entertainment platforms such as Netflix or HBO would do well in liberating access during this time: a universal free trial, code VICTORY. The ultimate lockdown.
This may buy us some time, precious time, enough to avert Doomsday. We may even revert some of the damage made to the environment, get more vaccines to where they are desperately needed, and bring more people to safety. Dear world leaders, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden, Macron, Trudeau; UN, NATO officers: press the green button now. Make History. Save us!