MOST of us never expected to experience something as cataclysmic as the coronavirus pandemic in our lifetime.

I know I didn't. Italy and Spain have been brought to their knees and, for all we know, Britain will soon follow. The dystopian world we wake to is worse than our worst nightmares - overflowing morgues, improvised hospitals the size of aircraft hangers, the eerie silence of deserted streets, supermarkets stripped bare by panic buyers, thinly veiled paranoia carved on every face, the siege mentality of lockdown. It's like living inside a disaster movie but we can't turn it off. The cure is almost (but not quite) as bad as the disease.

I can vouch for that. For a week I've had a fever and have been coughing until my ribs feel like they're going to crack. I'm fighting for breath as I write this. When you hear of all the poor people dying alone, suffering on ventilators, it's hard not to feel a measure of anger towards China, the source of the pandemic and many others over the centuries. After all, didn't the Black Death stalk its way to Europe along the Silk Road in the mid 14th century, killing millions?

Donald Trump was criticised for using the phrase 'China virus' to describe Covid-19. I'm not Trump's biggest fan but I don't understand why it's a bone of contention. The epicentre of the outbreak was a filthy live animal market in Wuhan in Hubei Province, Central China. It's not up for debate.

That nation's cruel methods of animal husbandry - their vile menageries - and penchant for peculiar and exotic cuisine are well-documented. Only through the bizarre, distorting prism of political correctness could referring to an irrefutable fact be misconstrued as racist. But we seem to be living in a warped world where people's feelings are more important than facts. SARS also originated in such a market in Guangdong province and should have been (one of many) shots across the bows.

But nothing much changed in China. Worse, China's ruling Communist Party tried to silence Dr Li Wenliang and his colleagues who warned of the danger last December. The brave doctor, just 34, later died of coronavirus. The world needs to unite to ensure China gets its house in order and to be prepared for radical action if it does not. The rest of the world has suffered too much already because of their Government's negligence.