Commentary: Let’s Open Our Eyes

May 31, 2020
/ Miami, Florida, United States
/ Abel Márquez, Inter-American Division


young man with a blindfold in his eyes

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[Photo Credit: Getty Images]

A solution to the problem of the great global crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic would be that we would be able to see the virus. The fact that borders and non-essential businesses have been closed, events have been canceled, we are forced to stay at home, and other restrictions derive from the fact that we don’t know where the virus is and, therefore, we have no way of attacking and destroying it.

Imagine going out of your home and, as you drive down the road, you suddenly see a cloud of coronaviruses before you. Pedestrians run to and fro as they try to avoid getting infected; others shake off their clothes and, almost instantly, the police arrive to cordon off the place while a special squad, with protective gear, spray the place with disinfectants that obliterate the feared virus right away. Thanks to the fact that you were able to see the danger, you may switch to a different street, change your route, and get rid of the potential risk. In a worst-case scenario, you could perhaps call off your prospective appointment, avoid attending school, or church, miss your flight or even an important meeting or business, but thanks to your ability to see where the virus is, the crisis would not affect you in the same way it is affecting us know.

During the first few months of this year, once the outbreak of the novel coronavirus became known, some countries across Asia implemented measures to prevent a greater crisis. Among them, they developed mobile geolocation apps, which the government uses to pinpoint and customize the follow-up of every single case. Thus, they managed, if needed, to isolate a person, a family, or even a neighborhood, but not the whole country. This is so, thanks to the possibility of detecting the virus, knowing where it is and how it can be countered.

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