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Out of sight, out of mind

The old saying “Out of sight, out of mind” is perhaps more prevalent at this time of the year as many countries engage in Christmas festivities, usually with colourful lights, music, family gatherings, and plenty of gifts and food.

Few would disagree that Christmas remains an event that triggers something within most people, and promotes a willingness to smile at strangers and feel a little better about life.

However, this year will be somewhat different because the world is still in the grip of a pandemic from Covid-19, which continues to ravage the planet, despite the promise of vaccines. It is to be hoped that the vaccines will reduce the devastating toll of infections and deaths, which have shattered families and crushed social activities, where people in proximity keep the virus moving from person to person.

It is almost incomprehensible that halfway through December, America is still battling the virus. The record, according to medical experts, is one death every 30 seconds — almost 3,000 people in one day. If that is not enough to shock people into wearing masks, and to follow guidelines from the health authorities, it will be a an even darker period ahead before this menace is brought under control.

Medical experts are in agreement that the wearing of face masks, while not a cure, is significant in helping to stem the spread of a disease that is moving like wildfire through a forest assisted by high winds. The year 2020 would test leadership not only in the world of politics, but also the will of the people to adjust to doing things for safety, even if it means changing much of their normal way of life.

This proved a massive challenge for those who felt their privacy was being invaded, and they resented being ordered to wear a mask and distance themselves from social gatherings and events that contribute to spreading the virus.

Most world leaders knew they were dealing with an invisible enemy that was a potential threat to everyone. It mattered little as to whether one was wealthy or trapped in the dark shadows of extreme poverty. The virus attacks wherever it can, and that’s the bottom line.

Covid-19 has changed our lives in Bermuda, not only for 2020 but for years to come (File image)

This is a crucial time for all to pause and reflect on the importance of every life. Consider that while many families around the world, including Bermuda, may be fortunate to enjoy a meal with all the trimmings with close family members, there are children still dying of hunger in war-torn regions on this planet.

There will never be enough cameras or reporters to expose each tragic loss. In a sense, for too many, it is a sad version of out of sight, out of mind.

People suffering is nothing new throughout world history. Some us here in Bermuda, can recall moments when because of a world war, it was not a question of what you were having for Christmas dinner, but rather being grateful for anything under the circumstances. However, even under those challenging times, and they were challenging indeed, many parents knew they had to keep their spirits up to provide hope that one day things would get better.

After tough, challenging years, things did get better, although there is still much work to be done. As with other countries, the pandemic is affecting Bermuda’s economy and our infrastructure, and not much will change until the threat of spreading the virus is fully contained.

Officials here are concerned about full co-operation from the public in the wearing of face mask, and maintaining distancing, because the risk is always there for having a situation that might result in measures that could make an already serious situation much worse. No right-thinking Bermudian wants that.

World leaders continue to make pleas for people to co-operate with guidelines for their protection, while fully aware that not following procedures will only lead to increased infections and more fatalities. This is not the subject most people care to even think about this time of the year, but while we don’t have answers to complicated global problems, or the power to bring about change, it is right to be concerned about others who are less fortunate than we are.

The pandemic will not be around for ever; at least that is our hope. It is also the hope that one day there will be no one in a state of being out of sight and out of mind in a world where the powerful rule. Every life is precious.

Eradicating vicious political divisiveness, bigotry and hatred is a challenge for all who believe in peace and justice. As we celebrate during these difficult times, spare a moment for those who selflessly work around the clock to keep us all safe and healthy.

The best we can do to help is to wear a mask and avoid crowds until this storm passes. Let that be a gift to each other.

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Published December 19, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 18, 2020 at 3:48 pm)

Out of sight, out of mind

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