• Zulf Choudhary

Waves of Pandemics

Some cope with disasters, other scrape by, but then the history has catch. The size of the catch depends on societal resilience and economic capacity. For us ordinary people, the best way is to look at how mentally we go their disaster phases, possible outcomes for some countries and societies, where political leadership has been proactive or poor. I have used the following model, based on WHO research. Keep in mind that the mental state changes over time, both for individuals and leaders

Fig 1

1. Pre-disaster-warnings, threats and what actions were taken.

2. The impact of the disaster on lives, property, or livelihoods

3. Heroic phase – We all struggle together with leaders promising to help

4. Honeymoon phase - Community is united against the common disaster

5. Disillusionment phase- each of us faces our own problems, death, financial, relationships etc

6. Coming to terms, we accept our limitations

7. Reconstruction, we start to rebuild with what we have

If you look at the phases carefully the major danger is in the disillusionment phase for individuals, politicians, and civil society.

Warning signs

When dead are buried, there will be day of reckoning and questions being asked by most advanced countries with high literacy levels as they are better able to cope with the disillusionment phase. Low literacy counties have challenges of legitimacy and ‘truth’ gaps. Power hungry politicians, and their supporters, will try to weather the storm of criticism with denials and blaming ‘the enemy’, foreign powers, internal foes, and enemies within. In fact, anyone but their own short comings in planning and mismanagement. This has the impact like a Tsunami; water receded from the beaches (political pressure seems to abate), a moment of calm and then, the big waves, in succession, wiping out all defenses and bring misery to all.


Like the biblical plague, we have waves of disasters, lose of life, lose of property, crop failures, famine and more disease. These pressures can and will change governments in many parts of the world. Trump is already worried enough of the economic impact to want to have lifting or the lock-down in the USA. Many in the third world are in very unstable political regimes such as in Afghanistan, Iran, and large parts of Africa etc. The waves can be illustrated below in Fig 2. Factors can can effect the impacts of disasters.

Fig 2

The pandemic waves can be seen as bundles of these four elements, as in Fig 2, which can be clustered as one mega bundle, which key strands separated by times lags caused by differed impacts. For example, the crisis costs money and this is invested with no thought of payback but payback will come in terms of lack of investment, closed businesses and lack of demand. The four waves can be classified as below.

1. The psychological wave- effects all those caught in the eye of the storm.

2. Employment wave, simultaneously, effecting employment of workers and domestic spending

3. The financial wave is steep contraction in the financial banking sector and investment confidence.

4. Political wave is when people feel they leadership could have done better.

In fact the four waves come in bundles as illustrated in Fig 3, and each one has its own set of four sub-waves.

Fig 3-Combined waves

What makes it worse for citizens, it is like a biblical plague, one wave after another till it shatters old confidences and makes ready for political or cultural changes. As Karl Marx said in his work Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon: ‘history repeats its self, the first as tragedy, then as farce", referring respectively to Napoleon I and to his nephew Louis Napoleon, who were both incompetents with delusions of grandeur.

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