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A pandemic that may become endemic

For those who have been asking: yes. I am vaccinated, and, yes, I am going for a third booster jab. I believe in the efficacy of vaccinations in the fight against this deadly pandemic. The evidence here, and elsewhere, is overwhelming and cannot be denied.

I believe, too, in medical science and the recommendation of my doctor. It isn’t just his opinion or that of a significant majority of other respected physicians. It is more than just an opinion. These are trained professionals, some of considerable experience and expertise, and I accept that their recommendation represents their best judgment: I repeat, judgment, not opinion, based on the facts.

BTW I recognise, too, that medicine is not an exact science — notwithstanding that there have been great advances over the years — and that we must rely on practitioners’ judgments, as we do every time that we present at their offices with our ailments, or find ourselves in an emergency at the hospital.

I accept, too, that vaccination is no cure. But it mitigates and it is but one tool, an important tool, as we look to battle the spread and ease the burden on our hospital, in particular, and our healthcare workers, generally.

End of argument for me.

Meanwhile, I make it a point to conduct myself as if the people with whom I interact have Covid. I follow the recommended protocols: socially distance, mask up and sanitise my hands regularly and repeatedly. I am happy for others treat me the same. I avoid large groups, too — where I can.

It isn’t just that I am over 65 years — 72, to be exact — but I am also thinking of others who may be at risk. Such as, in particular, the defenceless among us and youngsters like my grandchildren who cannot be vaccinated.

Here’s one other thing: I do not believe this virus is going to disappear anytime soon. On the contrary, if the past is any indication, we might reasonably anticipate other mutations and strains in the near and far future. What is a pandemic may well become endemic.

Mind you, that’s just an opinion. My opinion, and I prefer to err, and live, on the safer side of caution.

It is a global pandemic after all: a serious public health issue. Death is a potential consequence. When voluntary co-operation does not work, the case for mandatory vaccinations strengthens.

There that’s said — and I wrote it under my name.

There are others who chose to proffer opinions under pseudonyms — and what’s worse is that they choose to trot out as fact obvious misinformation, a polite euphemism for lies, really.

We see so much of this in online comments of The Royal Gazette — or at least we used to until the Gazette announced its recent change in policy.

I cannot say that I disagree with the decision — as difficult as it may be to support any abridgment of freedom of expression. But, folks, there has to be a limit. This is a deadly disease. I repeat myself: it is a serious public health issue. People are dying. Hospitals are stretched to capacity.

Of course, the challenge is in deciding when the line has been crossed, who makes the call and on what basis. But it has to be done and good luck with that.

It is in fact the thin edge of a wedge that is coming. We need look no farther than Britain and Canada. The British Government has tabled an Online Safety Bill, hailed by its drafters as “ground-breaking” — and I should say so, as it seeks to establish a regulatory regime to bring about responsibility and accountability for online posts. The Bill is under parliamentary study and review in the House of Commons.

Canada is not far behind. The proposed legislation there is looking to eliminate “harmful content” with an “independent” oversight body, again aimed at making the providers of online platforms responsible for content and monitoring posts.

We will watch from a distance with obvious interest. You never know: it may not be long before something similar emerges here.

Meanwhile, there is nothing necessarily brave about this new technological world. Bravery is not even the issue when it comes to this pandemic. Common sense is.

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Published October 13, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated October 12, 2021 at 6:10 pm)

A pandemic that may become endemic

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