JAEWON LEE WRITES – It is undoubtedly clear that the COVID-19 outbreak led to nothing but a series of unfortunate events that stripped away my fantasies of life after the Air Force. Just as my mandatory military service was nearing its end, my discharge ceremony was canceled, I could not return to my beloved college campus due to safety measures, and I learned that I would have to manage with online lectures. I also couldn’t enjoy my ‘liberation’ at being a civilian again since I have to be stuck at home to avoid any possibility of contagion. And I have to postpone my once hoped for, long-planned world trip indefinitely, since more than 100 countries won’t allow me to cross their borders.

Well, to be fair, it’s not just me. Some couples had to reschedule their weddings and some had to rush back to their countries, not to mention the infected, whom we all wish to get better as soon as possible. It’s not just the individual misfortune; the whole world is under the curse of Murphy’s Law. To quote from Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” Murphy’s Law doesn’t mean that something bad will happen. It means that whatever can happen, will happen. For example, the current situation: stock prices plummeted, then states shut down their borders one by one, then curfews and social distancing were established worldwide. Now, we even won’t be able to see the Olympics this year.

How long do we have to be condemned to this misfortune? How can this be solved? There is no simple answer to that question.

One suggestion: to use our recent achievement, over the past few centuries, of ‘globalization’. After all, was not the United Nations built for “fostering cooperation between nations to solve economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian international problems?”  This outbreak looks like a pretty big international problem to me. Yet so far, rather than putting their heads together to establish a universal agenda, nation states have been focused on keeping others away to prevent further infection.

According to Murphy’s Law, whatever troubles COVID-19 has given us can and will be prolonged. A reasonable, universal partial remedy would be for countries to share their exact statistics, deal with the infected, and share sample kits as well as technologies. Wouldn’t that be a good start?

This outbreak can be finally solved only when all nation states, not just one, are free of fear of future infections. Even if today, somehow, this pandemic were miraculously halted, any metropolis – New York, Osaka, Sydney, Seoul, or wherever – could be the next Wu-han and start another global pandemic.

It could happen and would happen. Countries should not view the COVID crisis as temporary, but as a dire warning that we must devise a collaborative method, or institution, to deal with the present – if we want to avoid a future curse of Murphy’s Law.

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