A new year of hope for freedom from pandemic

The new year is upon us. It brings a great and vibrant hope that with the arrival of vaccines, the deadly killer Covid-19 might be defeated in another year if political leaders really lead and act with moral conscience and competence.

Jan 09, 2021

By Fr Shay Cullen, SSC,
The new year is upon us. It brings a great and vibrant hope that with the arrival of vaccines, the deadly killer Covid-19 might be defeated in another year if political leaders really lead and act with moral conscience and competence.

A vaccine will not eliminate the virus. It will still be there, but we can be protected from it. Certainly, the economy has to keep rolling on, and total lockdowns are not going to be applied anytime soon, but infections and deaths are increasing at a rapid pace.

It is indeed good riddance to traumatic 2020 when nearly 2 million people were killed by Covid-19. Who doesn’t know that? Well, many hundreds of thousands around the world appear not to know it or believe it. In developed Western nations, many don’t seem to know or acknowledge that humanity is under attack by a deadly unseen enemy that could kill them within a few weeks of getting infected.

These people live their daily lives and protest and demonstrate at the government restrictions on social distancing, wearing masks and hand washing frequently. To them, the virus is fake news or at least is not real to them. Perhaps they don’t read, listen or watch the news.

They ignore warnings and go partying and socially mixing, and seem ignorant about the threat to life that the virus poses. It is only when they have the painful, debilitating sickness do they ask themselves, “How did I get this?”

These are the people who do not realize that they are a danger to others. They may be pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic, carrying the virus but yet not showing flu-like symptoms. Lucky for them but not for their friends and neighbors whom they could infect and unknowingly kill. That is why effective testing is crucial in controlling the spread.

When a test turns positive, people who have been in close contact with the infected person must be traced, and they must also be tested. This has worked very well in Taiwan, New Zealand and now in China, where the virus was first detected.

In these countries, it is under tight control. South Korea was a winner for a while, but a new outbreak has been detected. The same is true in Thailand. Perhaps complacency set in and people lowered their guard and cast off protective measures.

When people are tested positive, all must isolate and, when very sick, go to a hospital. The increasing number of infected people is alarming and exceedingly serious. New records are set every day.

Hospitals everywhere are short of beds and intensive care facilities. Patients are parked in hospital corridors, chapels, canteens and offices. That is the result of irresponsible social contact that has helped the virus to spread.

This novel coronavirus has one mission: it seems: to transmit itself more effectively and infect and kill as many people as it can. It is a non-living organism but can evolve and mutate in a matter of months into a new, more deadly killer virus. We witness a new strain these days with the new, more virulent mutated virus that is spreading with even quicker and more lethal effect as you read this.

Vaccines will take many months to be available to all people. It will take a year before the world population is partially protected. I say partially because the experts tell us continually that there is no known evidence of how long the vaccine will provide a person with immunity from further infection.

The vaccine does not kill the virus but powers up the human immune system to fight and kill it in the body. We must continue the precautions and protective measures for at least another year before there will be partial protection.

Vaccines can help us get back to a non-virus-dominated life and begin an emotional and economic recovery. It can’t come soon enough. --ucanews.com

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