March 30, 2020
As much of the world has descended into mass hysteria over the coronavirus, the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, has taken a different approach. Sporting events are not being cancelled and much of the country is operating normally with some minor precautions in place.
Few measures have been enforced to curb coronavirus in Belarus – instead, people are being urged to drink vodka and go to saunas.
The country – specifically its president – has shrugged off concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak, starkly illustrated on Sunday with the nation’s football matches continuing as normal.
As most countries enforce strict measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, fans continued to shuffle into football grounds as they would any other weekend.
Few social distancing measures appear to be in force, but spectators at some grounds did have their temperatures checked before being granted entry.
A small number of fans opted to wear face masks while huddled together in packed stands, but they were few and far between.
Belarusian football organisers have said they have no intention of postponing matches or cancelling the season – and the country’s leader has also shown that he is keen for sporting fixtures to continue.
President Alexander Lukashenko took part in an ice hockey match on Saturday – controversially declaring that sport “is the best anti-virus remedy”.
At the event, he told a reporter: “It’s better to die standing on your feet than to live on your knees.”
President Lukashenko makes a good point.
All of us are going to eventually die. Death is just a part of life. What is the point of living if you are going to spend your time locked up in your home worried that you are going to die of a virus?
The coronavirus has not developed into a doomsday-tier health problem but nearly every government around the world is acting like we are in the middle of an apocalypse. The coronavirus at time of writing has reportedly caused roughly 34,000 deaths worldwide. A problem yes, but not one deserving of the hysterical response we’ve seen.
According to the World Health Organization, the flu kills many more times than that on an annual basis.
Seasonal influenza is characterized by a sudden onset of fever, cough (usually dry), headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise (feeling unwell), sore throat and a runny nose. The cough can be severe and can last 2 or more weeks. Most people recover from fever and other symptoms within a week without requiring medical attention. But influenza can cause severe illness or death especially in people at high risk (see below).
Illnesses range from mild to severe and even death. Hospitalization and death occur mainly among high risk groups. Worldwide, these annual epidemics are estimated to result in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness, and about 290 000 to 650 000 respiratory deaths.
And sure, we don’t know exactly how many people the coronavirus will ultimately infect and kill, but at this point it seems like the problem is being grossly exaggerated in order to advance a variety of nefarious agendas.
President Lukashenko is at least smart enough to know that there is no point in wrecking his nation’s economy over this. Unfortunately, nearly every other country in the world has chosen to implement draconian measures that are in the process of destroying their economies and causing massive societal disruptions. The response to the virus is proving to be much more problematic than the virus itself.