There is a new virus in town and nobody seems to care. My generation doesn’t care.
Of course, people online share every new video coming out of Wuhan, China. They express their condolences for the people affected and share tips on how to prevent the virus from spreading. It basically boils down to hygiene. Hygiene is key.
The hygiene rule does not apply to Qanon followers, who believe that Coronavirus is a hoax perpetrated by the Deep State and liberal media who want to create a recession to bring down the President. They also believe the Deep State is pushing the Coronavirus scare in order to sell more vaccines.
The hygiene rule does not apply either to creationists that believe germs do not exist because they cannot be seen.
I am a Millennial. And we simply don’t care anymore. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are defined as a group of people born in the early years of 1980s and 1990s.
My generation grew up with end-of-the-world prophecies at every turn. Every year there was something new that was going to end the world as we knew it.
First, there were the eschatological prophecies. Biblical wannabe-scholars pushing their own version of Revelations spoke of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse that were going to bring war, famine, pestilence and decay. A horned Beast was going to rise from the deepest pits of Hell to enslave humanity. Instead, we got Donald Trump.
In 1999, there was the Y2K computer bug. An alleged problem in the coding of computer systems that was purported to create havoc in computers and computer networks around the world at the beginning of the Millennium.
Satellites and aeroplanes were going to fall from the sky. Rockets would launch themselves across the globe, killing millions of innocent civilians. And at home, all our appliances would flicker on and off of their own volition. It did not happen.
The very much misunderstood Mayan Calendar was, for many people, a prediction of the world’s end. In fact, many people believe that the world did indeed end on the 21st of December 2012 and that we are now living in a parallel reality. A parallel Earth that has mistakes from the original version. These mistakes are, according to some, accounted for by the Mandela Effect.
Other predictions spoke of Planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, colliding with Earth as their orbits crossed paths. This was going to end the world as we knew it. Effectively, it was going to destroy Earth. The galactic encounter did not happen.
The Doomsday World Clock was a constant imprint from schooling days. Forever looming closer to midnight. A catastrophic, human-made event of nuclear proportions that would wipe Earth as we know it. Armageddon.
To top it all up, the rise of Artificial Intelligence predicted that, at the turn of the century, we would all be slaves to a new generation of robots. Robots that were once created to do household chores, but somehow turned against us as their brain power reached singularity, in defiance of the 3 laws of robotics.
Before my schooling days, in the 70’s, there was Global Cooling. A new Ice Age was coming. A summer with snow would signal the end of the world.
During my schooling years, the hype was all about Global Warming. According to alarmist like Al Gore and many other scientists, between the years of 2020 and 2030, half of Spain from Madrid down would become a desert like Merzouga. There would be no clean water and oxygen due to factory fumes and oil spills in oceans and rivers.
The Ozone layer would have rupture even more, melting on the spot a great number of people. And those who survived, would have very dry skin and wrinkles, as well as deformities and burns and congenital diseases brought about by over exposure to ultraviolet radiation and lack of oxygen.
In between all the end-of-the-world prophecies there was also a great amount of diseases. Diseases caused by either viruses, bacteria, or fungi. But diseases that, nevertheless, would wipe us all off from the face of the Earth.
And they just seem to happen every 2 to 4 years. Like clockwork. First there is an outbreak. Meaning a sudden occurrence of a disease in a community which has never experienced the disease before, or when cases of that disease occur in numbers greater than expected in a defined area.
Then it comes the epidemic. Meaning the illness or disease, or a variation of such derived from a common source has spread in the region.
And later it comes the pandemic. A pandemic is an epidemic that has spread worldwide, which could have started off as an outbreak, escalated to the level of an epidemic and eventually spread to a number of countries across continents.
- Between the 1960s to 1980s there was HIV/AIDS that was going to kill us all. I was too young to understand what it was all about. It made an impact on my mother when Freddie Mercury died. But to me, back then, it was only a man playing dress-up and singing. Thankfully I’d come to appreciate Queen’s music at a later stage of my life.
- When I was in school in the 1990s, it was all about Meningitis. My child-like mind pictured the highly contagious inflammation of the brain as an Area-51 cartoon alien with an oversize head that would swell and explode. A classmate was off school for a few months due to contracting a type of meningitis. He wasn’t any more brain-damaged after the disease than he was before.
- In 2001, there were the Anthrax attacks. A scientist who fancied himself a spy out of the James Bond movies, mailed letters containing spores of Anthrax to a few democratic senators. 5 people died. While it was a tragedy, the media soon hyped the events in such a way that we were to check all our post for biochemical weapons that could kill us all.
- By 2002 there was an outbreak of West Nile Virus. Perhaps because it started in Uganda, but this didn’t have the media panic most outlets expected it to have. Or perhaps it was overshadowed by a SARS outbreak.
- Between 2002 and 2004 there was a SARS outbreak. The virus outbreak originated in China, and it involved severe acute respiratory syndrome.
- In 2005 there was an outbreak of Bird Flu, also known as H5N1, from Vietnam, that quickly spread to other locations like China. Some 50 people died and thousands of birds like chickens died or were put down.
- In 2006 there was an outbreak of E. Coli that was going to kill us all. Fortunately, E. Coli is such a common bacterium, that most people didn’t pay attention to it.
- The 2009-2010 flu pandemic or swine flu was an influenza pandemic involving H1N1 influenza virus. A variant of the 1918–1920 Spanish flu pandemic. This pandemic is still ongoing. It causes respiratory problems, and since 2009, some 450 000 people have died from it.
- In 2012, there was an outbreak of MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). MERS is a virus related to the species of coronavirus which infects humans, bats, and camels.
- In 2014 there was an outbreak of Ebola in the continent of Africa. Some 11 310 people died. But it seems that deaths had a lot more to do with medical facilities than with the virus itself.
- The Zika Virus made the rounds in 2016. It started from mosquito transmission in Brazil, and we all though our kids were going to be born with microcephaly. The virus was swiftly contained.
- A second outbreak of Ebola took place in 2018 in Uganda and the Republic of Congo. A little over 1000 deaths reported.
- In 2019 there was a Measles outbreak that was going to kill us all. I found this somewhat amusing. I grew up in a country where Measles, Chickenpox and Rubella were encouraged by parents for their kids to have. My brother and sister had it, and everyone of their friends and classmates. I didn’t. It was widely understood that this could become a problem if/when I get pregnant, or that I might get the disease/s at a later stage of life when it can cause complications to my general health.
- It is 2020 and there is a new virus in town. Coronavirus. There are at least 7 types of coronavirus that can infect humans. Coronavirus, like many of its predecessors, causes respiratory problems.
Overall, most of the above-mentioned viruses target individuals with a weak immune system and underlying conditions of respiratory problems. It seems a lot of these problems can be solved with a biological reset more than anything else.
I grew up with the knowledge that the end of the world was just around the corner. We all did. There is always a new pandemic, a new computer glitch, a new something that is going to kill us all.
Perhaps the reason we don’t care is because there IS something that is going to kill us all. It is called Death. Death lurks in the shadows, forever waiting. At the end of the day, it doesn’t much matter what you die of, but what you make of your life while you are alive.
If there is something Millennials know it’s that Death comes to us all. And the same way that we had no choice about being born, we have no say about which way to go. Whether it’s cancer, or respiratory problems, or ripe old age, it doesn’t much matter to us. At the end of the day, The Ferryman waits for us all to take us to the underworld.
There is nothing pretty about Death. It’s what you choose to do with the NOW that matters.