Earlier this week, I happened to recall a conversation from last April. A friend and I had stumbled upon the theory that poor countries were going to end up more resilient to COVID-19 than rich ones. In places where hospitals are rare and medical facilities rudimentary, we argued, people avail themselves of these niceties a lot less. So while health services would be similarly overwhelmed by COVID in both poor and rich nations, the impact on society at large would not be as noticeable. Furthermore, while one could statistically discern that older people were disproportionately affected by the virus in poorer lands, given that life expectancy is already lower and that death in old age is more stoically accepted, it’s not clear that the felt impact of the pandemic there would be equivalent to that in the developed West.
I concluded this back and forth by declaring that, paradoxically, our technological advancements made us more fragile rather than more resilient. Our sensitivity to pain was our Achilles' Heel.