The coronavirus crisis is showing the best and worst of humanity. Will a new form of solidarity emerge at the end of the tunnel or will the previous trends of the last few years will be enhanced?

In its literal sense, the ‘Solidarity Trial’ announced by the WHO, was a coming together of nations to evaluate potential treatment methods to combat Covid-19. However, its underlying figurative connotations are reflective of a larger, more primal test the virus has posed to humanity as we know it.

Source: Roche

We have undoubtedly seen some unprecedented acts of unity in the homeland and beyond, from communities reaching out to provide food & shelter to the less fortunate to people clapping in unison to celebrate healthcare workers. Notwithstanding the silver linings, however, it’s time that we take off our rose-tinted glasses and see things as they are. The pandemic is currently the one adversary that indeed affects us all in one way or another, but it affects some more than it does others. We’re all in this together, but are we really? We are definitely not in the same boat. Some of us are on a cruise ship, while others on a kayak, barely holding on.


One minute people were seen mastering the art of making dalgona coffee and baking banana bread, and the next, taking to the streets in large numbers to protest police brutality against people of color amidst the looming cloud of uncertainty that is the virus. The irony is that this fallout of the video showing George Floyd’s murder, passes the test of solidarity with flying colors, while the incident in itself which triggered this solidarity, is emblematic of state-sponsored divisiveness across the globe.

The divisiveness is inherent in the very nature of the virus. Its contagiousness demands that we stay apart when we are most craving human touch. In fact, its onset saw a stark manifestation of the dog-eat-dog world when people started fighting over scant resources. It is the fear of deprivation that induces this ‘us versus them’ attitude in our minds. Who would have ever thought we would run out of toilet paper?

Coronavirus hit us a time when the world was already seeing growing anti-globalization sentiments and xenophobia. The divisiveness is also apparent in debating the very origins of the virus. It only takes a few scrolls on Twitter to understand America’s sentiment towards China for being the place of origin of the “China virus”. This trope has fuelled incidents of racism towards the Chinese community in different parts of the world, and the North-East community in India. Tensions between borders have only worsened and anti-immigration viewpoints solidified.

The nature of the virus, coupled with humankind’s failure in investing more in healthcare, has even put healthcare workers in an ethical dilemma, much like the trolley problem. The humungous amount of Covid-positive patients queuing outside hospitals has overwhelmed healthcare workers to the extent that they are forced to grudgingly turn away younger/ healthier patients with a better prognosis so that they can save the already-scarce ventilators for the older and more vulnerable to come. When such is the reality, it’s hard to feel one with those around you, and selfishness is inevitable.

In our hearts, we do care for those around us, yet we sit behind our laptops complaining about the government’s decision to open up, with no cognizance of the fact that not everyone has the privilege of being indoors and still cutting a paycheck. Whereas in the west, there are people protesting the use of masks, not recognizing that even though the virus wouldn’t kill them, they could become carriers putting others at risk. Not wearing a mask has become a political statement of sorts in the United States, with people gathering for political rallies, not one of them sporting a mask. College students on the beaches of Florida have even been captured on camera not giving two hoots about the virus because for them enjoying spring-break takes precedence. Irrational behaviors like these and the ‘every man for himself’ attitude call into question our ability to unite in containing the spread of the virus.

Every day that I have delayed penning down my thoughts on this, something new that solidifies my opinion, has made the headlines. It was just yesterday that the USA bought all stocks of Remdesivir, the only vaccine currently available, while other countries are left to fend for themselves. From what we’ve witnessed thus far, it seems that we’ll see solidarity within certain groups and divisiveness amongst groups. The only thing at the end of the tunnel is hope-hope that we rise above the artificial borders between nations and each other, and treat others like we treat one-self.