An interview of Marli Huijer that appeared in the NRC this last week goes more in depth into the discussion that I feel is a very important to have at this moment. She stated that if corona had happened 70 years ago, it would hardly have been noticed. The reasons being that life expectancy was 10 years less than it is now. If you add population growth to the equation (which she doesn't do explicitly, but does with numbers), then you see that there were 470 thousand people over 70 in the Netherlands in 1950, and 2,4 million now. We have also eliminated many sicknesses due to antibiotics and vaccines, and we are not accustomed to death by disease at the rate that was part of daily life prior to 1950.
What bothers me more than overpopulation (which is part of this idea, BTW) and overconsumption, is the fact that we have been able to extract ourselves temporarily from natural processes, and are so arrogant to think that this is permanently possible. We cannot face the fact that we are part of the natural world, which includes our dependency on the laws of nature. Death, disease, hunger, war are undeniably a necessary part of human existence if we are to keep the balance with the supplies available to us to sustain our population. A population that is exponentially growing and living longer lives while consuming resources at growing rate on a finite planet will crash into a wall so hard that far more casualties will be necessary to regain balance, than if we had allowed the balance to be found much earlier. With all of our ethics, morals, and technology, extracting ourselves from nature might have been possible if we had immediately planned for the future by planning the maximum consumption rate and population growth.
The conclusion that I have made in the previous months is that corona is not the problem we face. The real epidemic is overpopulation, obsession with long life instead of a fulfilling life, and overconsumption. The last point is quite literally and uncomfortably seen by the fact that the obese are most susceptible to dying from corona.
I have been reading extremely aggressive reactions from the older generations about the corona crisis, and I perhaps can attribute their reactions to fear. However, it is also a certain egotism that radiates from their reactions. Huijer states, "Je hébt geen recht op een zo lang mogelijk leven" which translates to "you don't have the right to live as long as possible." You may have the "right"to a good life, but even that is not a given. You have the obligation to do something good with your life, let's put it that way.