#shelterandwrite prompt 6 Epidemics Then and Now

I’ll like to compare The Great Famine of 1845 – 1849, in Ireland, to this present pandemic of Covid-19 in 2020.

There are some similarities to both pandemics which I can relate to. Everyone knows the obvious which is happening right now for Covid-19, so I won’t write about this. I would rather write about what I can relate to in my present time, with the ancient Great Famine. Both involve disruption of food supply. The Great Famine happened because of a potato disease which killed almost all potato crops.

Now, Covid-19 does not kill crops and domestic animals on a massive scale, but it has interfered with the distribution of food and consumer commodities, as countries enforced bans on exports. Goods had to be conserved for domestic consumption because work and production have halted due to restriction on human movement to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Money can not buy goods. You may offer a high price to buy masks, PPE, toilet rolls, potatoes or eggs, but there are insufficient supplies to sell to you. Your country has to source for other suppliers who are willing to keep trade open, while the pandemic rages on.

During The Great Famine, people did not have the resources to source for food from other regions or countries. Some Irish residents walked to neighboring towns to seek food, but they were met with rejection because other towns were suffering similar fates. In Covid-19, some foreigners chose to fly into countries with better medical doctors and hospitals. I translate this as the equivalent of migration in search of not food, but medical treatment. This example highlights migration, although the sought after resource is different. People wish to get better treatment for themselves, because they are afraid to die. They don’t trust their homeland’s medical system.

This deliberate tactic has been banned when a country forbids the entry of short term visa holders. These visitors are tourists and medical tourists who wish to take advantage of better medical care in a foreign country.

After the exodus, the reverse flow of return of temporary immigrants, also becomes political and medical issues. A country has stated it refuses to accept the return of its citizens if they are infected, because said country does not want to be burdened by a landslide of Covid-10 patients. Said country will allow re-entry if a citizen has been tested negative for Covid-19. Why would anyone be concerned over the mass exodus and re-entry? Workers are required to move the economies. Supply of workers is essential to fuel the demand for goods and services. Without which, many of us will slowly be deprived and wither.

The epidemic then and this epidemic now are related by the way the dynamics work that affect our food chains.

This is all I can write for now.


#writethepandemic Writing Prompt from – Shelter and Write,  #shelterandwrite, by Jaclyn Bergamino

List of 30 prompts here.

Lightning Droplets – Look to History.