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We must all do our part

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Back to curfew? Bermuda Police Service and Royal Bermuda Regiment personnel carry out curfew checks during the shelter-in-place last year (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Bermuda does not want to return to this: 8pm on a Saturday on Front Street, during the 24-hour curfew (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Another weekend, another Covid-19 breach.

Even as Bermuda makes progress towards a semblance of normality, a few selfish people seem determined to set the entire community back.

This is inexcusable.

Whether you think the pandemic is a genuine threat to the health of Bermuda and the world or a giant hoax, the fact is the vast majority of the community will follow the best available scientific advice, socially distance and follow the restrictions laid down by the elected government of the country until sufficient people are vaccinated to relax and eventually eliminate the restrictions entirely.

This is the only option. Those people who decide that the rules do not apply to them and that they can ignore them are hurting everyone. They are delaying, possibly indefinitely, a lifting of restrictions.

They are creating the very real risk of further restrictions and, if necessary, having Bermuda return to shelter-in-place. Why anyone would want this is a mystery.

Certainly, the vast majority of the population is sick of wearing masks, sick of not being able to gather in large numbers, sick of not playing organised sport, sick of being unable to stand at a bar and order a drink, sick of not being able to travel and sick of Covid-19 and the pandemic.

But when Bermuda is getting closer and closer to opening up again, the only thing that is required to get there is patience. Flouting the rules will only delay it. All of this is obvious. While it is perfectly understandable that people want to see friends and have fun, holding house parties and the like is supremely selfish.

The risk of putting someone at risk of death is real and should be deterrent enough. But if the death of a loved one is not enough, then simply knowing that your own actions prevent your own return to normality surely is.

The necessity for restraint and delayed gratification has never been greater. Bermuda did not go through shelter-in-place last year and a second lockdown over Christmas to run the risk of a third lockdown and going into an endless cycle of lockdown, followed by relaxation, followed by lockdown.

This is particularly true with new variants of the coronavirus spreading. Although the so-called UK variant has received the most attention, a South African variant seems to be more resistant to vaccines and it is quite possible there are yet more undetected variants already in other communities.

Still, as the Premier said last weekend, if 31 out of 34 of the people who had the virus as of this weekend had the UK variant, this must be taken seriously. There is evidence to show its symptoms can be worse and it can be transferred more easily than the original Covid-19.

That means we should be more careful now, not less, until enough people are immunised that the spread of Covid is no longer a threat.

The madness in all of this is that Bermuda has, by most health measures, done extraordinarily well in its response to the coronavirus.

Last summer, Bermuda — we — had reduced the threat to a minimum. It is fair to say that Bermuda became too complacent in the autumn, holding sporting events, general elections and allowing large social and other events. This led to the upsurge just before Christmas.

At the same time, thanks in the first place to the British Government and in the second to the efficient management of the vaccination process by the health authorities, Bermuda is well ahead of many countries in getting the most vulnerable segments of the population vaccinated. And in the meantime, many people not in the most vulnerable sections are now beginning to get their shots as well.

We should have learnt our lesson last November. We very nearly beat Covid-19 once, only to fall short. We cannot take the risk of falling short again.

So put away the party favours. Turn down the volume on the sound system. Put the coolers away for now. Make a vaccine appointment if you are eligible. If Bermuda can get through the next few months and get enough people vaccinated, we can all have a summer of fun and enjoy being a community again.

But we must all do our part.

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Published March 17, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated March 17, 2021 at 8:42 am)

We must all do our part

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