However rich, that none of the “advanced capitalist countries” of the West have the capacity to test and have therefore failed in responding to the pandemic has largely to do with the fact that none of them passed through the SARS or MERS epidemics and therefore failed to develop and adequately arresting vision of future possibilities. In the many years since SARS and MERS, the governments of these countries continuously failed to prioritize the development of an effective testing or emergency preparedness regime.
Unluckily for these countries and for those of us who live in them (and soon, especially, for those in poor countries and those in poor households and vulnerable groups in rich countries), it is not possible to have effective testing and emergency pandemic response regimes in short order or to have treatment materials, medicines, and equipment on a sufficiently large scale.
That health systems in the world have become so thoroughly commercialized and profit-driven has reduced their effectiveness with respect to public health, leading to the current situation that is aptly summarized in conversations long overheard in hospitals in the so-called Third World: “There are not tests we can do because we don’t have them for you. I am sorry but there is no treatment, so I suggest you just go home and wait.”
And one more note…
I just learned this morning that the lovely family directly across our very small street has the virus. We see them every morning and every day of the year through the windows of our houses, which are only meters away from each other. Every so often we wave to each other through our windows. Our small whatsapp group of immediate neighbors is supporting them. My wife just brought them groceries.
Will not be surprised if I/we get it soon. Wait at home, perhaps? Let’s see.