Important! The approaches how to deal with Coronavirus are out of author’s competence. He wants to draw your attention to a consequences of currently imposed measures, without any assessment if they are right or wrong regarding Coronavirus itself.
Look out of your window: empty cities, no one on the streets, beautiful landscapes with no soul around, billions(sic!) of people sitting at home for weeks. The ideal environment to defeat Coronavirus? Maybe. But also a perfect setting for political stagnation.
The worst consequence of Coronavirus is that authoritarian and undemocratic powers just received one more instrument in their toolkit. Quite an effective one. Consider an example: in Moscow, you can’t leave your home if you don’t have a pass, which is given by the government. Just a month ago, it was an unbelievable thing even for Russia, which can’t brag with democratic freedoms. But for now, it becomes OK, and there are not many voices against it.
It will all finish when the Coronavirus epidemic ends!.. Sure? I’m not. For countries like Iceland, New Zealand, or Finland, COVID-19 response will be time-local and will end when the threat goes away. With a high probability. But for countries with authoritarian trends, this will definitely not go anywhere. Consider another example — Hungary, where the president just got the full power declaring the COVID-19 crisis as a public reason for this, and most likely, he will not return the obtained powers “back”. In most countries, however, the wide measures will be canceled, of course, but the possibility to impose them as a response to any kind of threat to the government is real. Also, the implementation of surveillance programs all over the world had made a huge step forward during the crisis with almost the absent resistance, and it’s unlikely they will be dismantled afterward.
The lesson which leaders all over the world have learned from the pandemic crisis is how powerful, and effective the fear of invisible is, which scares people much more than prisons. I will not be surprised if we will see a suspicious correlation between the news about the political struggles in authoritarian countries and the information about the spreading of deadly diseases in the same regions in the future.