Pests and the Pestered

Luis Rubio


Before, in the good times, Easter was a time to keep. Now that keeping has become a semi-permanent state, I set about gathering some ideas, explanations and comments on the current moment, aiming to better understand the situation or, at least, to laugh (or cry) at it.

“I have no idea what’s awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.”Camus, The Plague

“It is obvious that human (and non-human) diseases are evolving with an unusual rapidity simply because changes in our behavior facilitate cross-fertilization of different strains of germs as never before, while an unending flow of new medicines (and pesticides) also present infectious organisms with rigorous, changing challenges to their survival.”William H. McNeill, Plagues and Peoples(1975)

“In the last two weeks, the world economic situation has changed dramatically and for the worse. All the countries of the world are experiencing the repercussions of the Coronavirus. It is too early to provide numbers, but it is certain that there will be a world recession, deeper than the one observed in 2008-2009. The same will happen in Mexico. We must prepare for a severe recession of uncertain duration.” Santiago Levy

“As a candidate, López Obrador told Jon Lee Anderson in an interview: “I always think the same, but I act differently depending on the circumstances.” He has lost that touch: now he thinks the same and acts the same, regardless of the circumstances.”Hector Aguilar Camin

“The President who does not govern himself is unable to command in the emergency. I confess myself surprised by the total lack of leadership in this circumstance.”Jesús Silva Herzog Marquez

“When decision-making is slow in public-health matters, the consequences are grave and serious.” Renowned physician of the National Health System

“The belated reaction to equip and prepare for the Covid-19 is directly associated with López Obrador’s denial of the reality of the pandemic and his resistance to prepare.” Raymundo Riva Palacio

“Mexico quickly went from a punishment vote to being punished for its vote.”Unmissable phrase stolen from Twitter

“The consequences of defunding public-health agencies, losing expertise, and stretching hospitals are no longer manifesting as angry opinion pieces, but as faltering lungs.” Ed Yong, How the Pandemic Will End

“Suppression strategies may work for a while. But there needs to be an exit strategy—be it surveillance, improved treatment, vaccination or whatever. If governments impose huge social and economic costs and the virus cuts a swathe through the population a little later, they will discover that when politicians disappoint the people over something this serious there is hell to pay.” The Economist

“The world changed for the worse, quickly and drastically. We are facing a double emergency, health and economic. Let us act soon and together to avoid further deterioration of expectations and of the environment, which will later be much more difficult to reverse.” Santiago Levy

It is always important in matters of high politics to know what you do not know. Those who think that they know, but are mistaken, and act upon their mistakes, are the most dangerous people to have in charge. Margaret Thatcher

“This crisis came like a godsend to consolidate the objectives of the Transformation.” AMLO

“[The] collapse in presidential popularity has to do… with the poor performance of the government in economic and security matters, and even in the fight against corruption… The collapse is sharp and will not be temporary. There are no improvements in the reality to reverse the fall in support, nor is AMLO changing his way of acting or his decisions, which are generating more and more rejections. On the contrary, theother debacles are coming: the epidemic and the economic recession. It looks very ugly for the country and for the President, if he does not change.” Guillermo Valdés Castellanos

“From now on the presidential term will be different. The President, his team and many of his supporters will find the mourning very difficult. But the fact, whether they digest it or not, is that now they will have to play more defensively. Managing losses, managing splits, dealing with the costs of what they did or didn’t want to do in this contingency. And with the opportunities that all this can represent for the renewal of oppositions.” Carlos Bravo Regidor

“Asking people to choose between privacy and health is, in fact, the very root of the problem. Because this is a false choice. We can and should enjoy both privacy and health. We can choose to protect our health and stop the coronavirus epidemic not by instituting totalitarian surveillance regimes, but rather by empowering citizens.”Yuval Noah Harari: The World After Coronavirus

“We are a democracy. We don’t achieve things by force, but through shared knowledge and co-operation.”Angela Merkel

“But what does it mean, the plague? It’s life, that’s all.” Albert Camus, The Plague 

 Twitter: @lrubiof