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Perspective on a Pandemic

I am sitting writing this article in the garden, soaking in the warm sunshine, mildly distracted from the events going around me. I have had a lot of time to think about what to write and I did not want to use The Guide as a current affairs or political platform. So for that reason I am going to go against most of the current narrative over the current Covid-19 pandemic. Rather I am going to use this article as a piece of perspective.

Perspective is a word often overused, especially in my current history degree. Personally, I see perspective as a way to learn and educate through taking time to view certain events and form thoughts and views on matters.

As such I am sure there are many, and I emphasise many, views and thoughts on this unprecedented global event. I know that a week and a half ago I was going about my daily business, going to lectures and seminars whilst throwing myself into general university life. For me, the Covid-19 virus was something that was not going to impact on my life; it was just a bad cold for the elderly population. However, I know with confidence that I was not the only person thinking that way, and there are plenty more people that follow that train of thought even now.


After leaving university on Wednesday the days in self-isolation have allowed me to really dissect the current situation and I now believe we are in a serious health crisis, but it has also allowed me to gain perspective on the matter. For me as a millennium baby, and many others, this is the first type of crisis we have ever had to deal with, and to many it is worrying and frankly scary.

However there is a section of society, as I am sure you are very aware that are most at risk of becoming severely ill from this disease. Those generally older than 70 are particularly vulnerable, and last night I realised something very poignant about this figure, that made me realise that as the millennium generation, we should take this far more seriously than the vast majority are. I know this a large generalisation but it is true. It is common knowledge that our age group generally only have mild to no symptoms of Covid-19, but this is no excuse for acting irresponsibly.

Those that are over 70 were generally born between 1900 and 1950, and the 20th century was one of the most destructive yet productive and brilliant centuries in human history. As such for millennium babies it is vital we play our role in protecting the elderly and vulnerable population. As people go panic buying, spreading scaremongery across social media platforms and the press, this is of little help to protecting those who were born in the first half of the 20th century, namely those that are most vulnerable. This is a group that has had to live through numerous crises, some far far worse that what we are facing today.

V-E Day 1945

In 1914, the First World War broke out resulting in around 20 million deaths; a conflict on this scale had never been seen before.

There are still numerous people that are alive now that lived through this.

In 1918, World War One came to an end. However from January 1918 to December 1920 signalled the period of Spanish Flu, a pandemic that claimed the lives of approximately 50 million people worldwide.

There are still people that are alive now that lived through this.

British Soldiers at the Somme 1916

8 years after the end of Spanish Flu in October 1929, the worst economic depression in history began with the Wall Street Crash. This led to 13 million people unemployed in the USA alone-25% of the population. The hardships created from this lasted well into the 1950s.

There are still numerous people that are alive now that lived through this.

11 years later, Hitler invaded Poland on 1st September 1939 leading to the bloodiest conflict in history with 75 million deaths, not to mention 6 million of these being deliberate genocide through ethnic cleansing.

There are still numerous people that are alive now that lived through this.

After World War 2 there have been further widespread conflicts that have claimed the lives of millions. These include the Korean War and the Vietnam War, which claimed over 500,000 soldiers lives combined, let alone the vast numbers of civilians killed. Again, a huge toll on the world and the nations involved.

There are still numerous people that are alive now that lived through this.

Image from the Vietnam War

Throughout the 1950s to 1991, there was the constant and very real threat of nuclear war due to the severe tensions between the USA and the USSR. The reality of these tensions was best illustrated by the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, where a head on conflict was very narrowly avoided.

There are still numerous people that are alive now that lived through this.

It does not end there. In 1981, a new unidentified disease began spreading throughout America. This culminated in the AIDS pandemic, which still going on today has claimed the lives of around 32 million people.

There are still numerous people that are alive now that lived through this.

Run on the Banks 1929

These are just a few of the major events of the 20th century, of which the majority of most vulnerable to becoming severely ill from Covid-19 have had to deal with. We therefore as a millennial generation should pull together. Take this seriously and make sure that the generation that gave so much to help shape the amazing world we live in today are not threatened by another crisis. The sacrifice to stay at home for a few weeks is nothing on the sacrifices that the 70+ generation have had to make.

We have an opportunity to assist and help in preventing this disease, because for a generation that have to had to deal with some of the worst events in human history, we as a young generation owe it to them.


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