Coronavirus: Are the European authorities truthful about how long the measures will last? Can you lock up a population for 12-18 months before a vaccine is developed?

Truls Lie
Editor-in-chief, Modern Times Review
Published date: April 7, 2020

The famous Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has warned against the authorities’ handling of the corona pandemic. He envisions «extremely serious ethical and political consequences» promoted by the new security and preparedness regime. He is afraid of how state powers exploit the crisis for more totalitarian control and «biopolitics,» but not the least of which is what kind of life we ​​are left with when life is mostly about survival – as a «naked life» («just life» from his Homo Sacer series).

state of emergency-coronavirus-post1
Giorgio Agamben

The criticism against him after these statements made in both Italy’s il Manifesto and French Le Monde is that he does not pay attention to «the others,» that is, the weakest who are most likely to die. Precisely the reason for the government’s health measures against the coronavirus.

But Agamben’s objections to the authorities cannot simply be swept away. At the same time, we must not be naive, as the virus pandemic will probably be prolonged. Are the European authorities truthful about how long the measures will last? Can you lock up a population for 12-18 months before a vaccine is developed? And equally important is the question of whether the cure can be worse than the disease.

The numbers

So where do we go? In April, the number of people infected globally can increase explosively from one million upwards. Although in our time we probably do not get conditions like that of Spanish influenza – where 500 million were infected and around 50 million died (a quarter of the world’s population was infected between 1918 and 1920).

Interesting to note, with all the media coverage around the clock lately, is how much attention is received after all the Norwegian deaths compared to the annual death rate of 900–1700 people in Norway by pneumonia from


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