Silver lining theories for the crisis


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With deaths mounting, economies tanking and unemployment growing, it’s hard to see a silver lining in the coronavirus pandemic – other than rehearsing for something worse down the pike. However, optimism dies hard. Here are insights gleaned from the media.

Assisted suicide. “As an eternal optimist, I was able to find a silver lining in this difficult situation,” said Kim Callinan, the head of America’s leading assisted suicide lobby, Compassion & Choices, in an email to its supporters. Amongst other things, she points to a growing interest in telehealth during the pandemic.

“As the workforce grapples with the pandemic, telehealth is gaining prominence as a critical mode of delivering medical care. This provides a unique opportunity to make sure health systems and doctors are using telehealth, where appropriate, for patients trying to access end-of-life care options. These efforts should improve access to medical aid in dying in the short and long-term.”

Alex Schadenberg, of the Euthanasia Protection Coalition, comments, this is not a novel proposal. But it has drawbacks. People grappling with depression could be approved for assisted suicide and prescribed a lethal medication without a personal consultation.

Climate change. We’re having a dry run for the radical emission reduction policies espoused by climate change activists – fly less or not at all, produce less stuff, don’t burn fossil fuels etc, “The outbreak has, at least in part, contributed to a noticeable drop in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in some countries,” says Denise Chow, of NBC News. “Although grim, it's something scientists said could offer tough lessons for how to prepare — and ideally avoid — the most destructive impacts of climate change.”

Sweeping the world clean of grumpy old people. Ed Conway, the economics editor of Sky News, believes that this silver lining moment will move the world to a new level of technology.

“Don’t take this the wrong way but if you were a young, hardline environmentalist looking for the ultimate weapon against climate change, you could hardly design anything better than coronavirus.

“Unlike most other such diseases, it kills mostly the old who, let’s face it, are more likely to be climate sceptics. It spares the young. Most of all, it stymies the forces that have been generating greenhouse gases for decades. Deadly enough to terrify; containable enough that aggressive quarantine measures can prevent it from spreading.”

Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge




MORE ON THESE TOPICS | assisted suicide, coronavirus

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