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How Would Our Species Handle an Alien Invasion?

COVID-19 is the closest thing to an ET invasion we’re likely to ever face.

Fer Gregory/Shutterstock
Source: Fer Gregory/Shutterstock

What would humanity do in the face of an alien invasion? Imagine that the Earth falls under siege to an extraterrestrial threat. Would that be the stimulus that finally unites us all as a single species? That compels people to band together, combine resources, and advance with a unified motivation to conquer—or at least survive—the alien threat?

Or even then would our species remain divided and, even worse, divisive? Would we still rail against and fight one another despite the entire human race facing a common mortal threat?

While this narrative is often merely fodder for Hollywood, to state the obvious, the [current] novel coronavirus, the highly contagious and lethal virus that causes COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), is very similar to a global extraterrestrial attack. Despite the fact that our species has encountered previous pandemics, like an alien invasion, this novel coronavirus was only a theoretical threat. Until now.

But now, it is not theoretical. It is an actual lethal invader that was previously unencountered by humans, against which we have no initial defense, that’s driven solely by its own existence, that easily evades our best efforts to fight it, and that indiscriminately kills in vast numbers.

Regardless of the origin of the deadly threat we are all now facing, in my view, one matter seems clear. If our global community can’t put aside its petty and self-serving differences to unite and fight a deadly, worldwide invasion, we are a species of dumb, superstitious apes indeed.

And while many people and countries are circling the wagons, sharing vital data and much needed medical equipment, some countries are still failing to come to the table to help all humanity fend off this literal, existential threat. Even more troubling is the fact that some countries’ leaders are trying to assign blame to each other rather than band together with transparency and good faith to fight this common enemy.

Most alarmingly, it is known that some bats harbor many other coronaviruses that have never been encountered by people. And it is believed that bats were the vector that triggered this as well as previous coronavirus epidemics, like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome). Fortunately, both SARS and MERS were quickly contained, because they both have much higher case fatality rates than it appears COVID-19 does (meaning they are both more lethal, especially MERS which killed over 30 percent of those infected).

It is also known that the rampant ecological damage and habitat destruction brought on by human encroachment into previously uninhabited areas has led to a collapse of vital natural barriers, like forests, grasslands, marshes, deserts, rivers, and lakes. These environments often compartmentalize disease-carrying animals from human populations. Hence, for many years, the epidemiological community has been sounding the alarms about an inevitable pandemic. But, sadly, our current leadership is outspokenly anti-science and derided, defunded, and dismantled the very frontline organizations charged with defending us from these deadly threats (i.e., the CDC, NIH, and WHO).

In addition, our leadership has rolled back many environmental protections, thus setting the stage for further damage to vital, pristine ecosystems and the destruction of more natural habitats and barriers. So now it is just a matter of time until another novel virus jumps the species barrier and infects humans. And it’s entirely possible that the next one will have both the lethality or MERS and the contagiousness of COVID-19.

If ever there was a time for joining forces and pulling together as a nation, a global community, and a single species, this is it. COVID-19 does not recognize national borders or social boundaries. It will infect and possibly kill anyone regardless of nationality, race, religion, gender, sex, age, education, wealth, social status, or political affiliation.

It is critically important that we find a way to create a coordinated, global response to this mortal peril because it will almost inevitably not be the final pandemic our world will face. Without rational, scientifically guided, and cooperative multinational leadership, “ET” will prevail, and human civilization as we know it will be doomed.

Remember: Think well, act well, feel well, be well!

Copyright 2020 Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D. This post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for help from a qualified health professional. The advertisements in this post do not necessarily reflect my opinions, nor are they endorsed by me.