People say we’re in a war.
Yet when you go to bed this evening, you will not be woken by the sound of an air raid siren. When you walk out of your front door in the morning, you will not be carrying a rifle to a frontline. Across a border, no one plots your destruction.
In this situation, there is no human enemy, and that matters. It matters because that means that every single person on earth is on your side right now.
Every minute of the day, the most intelligent people on this planet are working together to find the means to keep you safe. Everyone you pass on the street is an ally, every person standing on a balcony in a hundred different countries wishing for the same outcome is a friend.
It is true that humanity has distinguished itself over centuries by its capacity for monumental ruin; too often our ingenuity and imagination have been dedicated to our own self-harm. Yet, thrown together as we have been by necessity, we are collectively capable of just as monumental a triumph.
Already we are seeing cooperation increasing. The World Health Organisation is currently running a ‘Solidarity’ trial across Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, France, Iran, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Thailand to identify the treatments that are most effective against coronavirus.
At the same time, three biotech companies with potential vaccine options have formed partnerships with pharmaceutical manufacturers, the U.S National Institutes of Health and the European Commission respectively to further develop their products at record speed.
As governments cut through red tape, things that normally take years are being done in months.
This is not to say that the end is in sight, but already humanity is starting to flex its muscles; to research, investigate, test, learn and innovate. For a civilization that was born out of force and conflict, it’s a notable mark of our progress that we are going to succeed by intellect and cooperation. An unthinking virus confronted by thinkers.
So whilst it is easy for politicians to reach for the language of battle to characterize this crisis, it is worth remembering that the one majorly positive aspect of this whole situation is that there isn’t actually an enemy at all. For once, we’re not against one another, we’re united.
Wherever you are, you are not alone.