Are WE the virus?

I dunno. What do YOU say, Ash Sarkar?

Ah. Aha.

For all the dark jokes I may make about COVID-19 and all the stupid people who go out of their way to court it, this much is serious: No, this disease isn’t just there to weed out the unfit. It’s a virus; it doesn’t have a purpose. Its only reason for existing is to replicate itself ad infinitum. It is most certainly a product of evolution, but it is just as certainly not an instrument of it.

If the coronavirus were really an instrument of evolution, don’t you think it would get rid of the real parasites first? Like the neofascists, “eco-“ and otherwise, who claim it in the name of social Darwinism? Or Donnie Drumpf, an admirer of Hitler and the failson of a Klansman, who thinks that capitalism, not our sick and troubled humanity, is what really needs to be put on a ventilator?

No, the coronavirus isn’t there to weed out the “unfit” among us. It’s not a bioweapon, even an ill-conceived one. It’s something that sprang from from a wild source, most likely a pangolin, and would never have made its way into human hosts if not for the fact that capitalism never met a man — or a beast — it couldn’t devour. Its modus operandi, apparently, is to mutate into multiple strains, which may explain why some sufferers show few or no symptoms, while others are sick as dogs for a while and then recover, and others still are dying fast. Just like capitalism, it seems to favor a lucky few, while decimating and debilitating others without rhyme or reason.

I don’t pretend to have an answer to it, or a cure for it, but how about we don’t abandon our humanity during this crisis, and instead redouble our common decency until the pestilence subsides, as did the protagonists of Albert Camus’s The Plague? Because pestilences may come and go without warning, but what makes them disappear is not a blind scrabble for whatever one can get; rather, it’s the concerted effort of people banding together, in whatever way the plague requires, to overcome it.

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