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Omicron: we know now what we must do

Shoppers wearing face masks to protect against Covid-19 walk along the Christmas market at Tuilerie garden in Paris yesterday. Nations across Europe have moved to reimpose tougher measures to stem a new wave of Covid-19 infections spurred by the highly transmissible omicron variant. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

OMG! OMC!! Just when we were starting to convince ourselves that we had turned a corner on Covid-19, it is looking like déjà vu all over again.

A Merry Christmas, you say? You for real?

Cases are increasing at an alarming rate elsewhere. We see how it is playing out daily whether on the internet or cable TV. The news is grim.

It is depressing too. After all this is meant to be a season of peace, love, joy and hope. It can still be. We will simply once again have to modify how we celebrate – and that’s the bright side: we can do that, and we can because we know more than when we did this pandemic struck.

First, we now have a selection of tools at our disposal that cost us very little except inconvenience. We can wear masks when out and about and interacting with people who are not part of our bubble. We can easily practise social distancing, along with washing or sanitising our hands as part of our everyday routine when entering and leaving any premises other than our own.

Over the top stuff? I don’t think so. There is no harm in being cautious based on all we know to date on how this virus can be transmitted. Now is still not the time to throw caution to the wind.

Secondly, we have and always have had access to vaccines. A vaccine, a double dose and with a booster on top, does not provide full immunity: not like, say, vaccinations for the measles and polio. That much we are learning from reported initial experiences with the new Omicron variant.

But what it does do is crucial. The early evidence is that it mitigates strongly against serious illness and dramatically reduces the possibility of hospitalisation and/or death.

I understand that there are those who will dispute this and prefer instead to pursue their own of action. That is individual choice; and while individual choices can be respected, up to a point, they cannot ever override that which is thought to be in the public interest, for the public good. This is a pandemic, after all.

The public interest is embodied and represented by our Government. We look once more to them to act, and to act promptly and decisively, on our behalf, based on mainstream medical science and on the best information available.

Fed up and fatigued by it all? You are not alone. We all are, Government too, I suspect, along with the many people who are in the trenches and on the front line in medical care.

Nevertheless and notwithstanding, Government relies on us for support in the form of our adherence to protocols, rules and regulations, the voluntary and mandatory.

It is the least we can do. We can quarrel with the benefit of hindsight later, in the post mortem that is sure to follow, here and elsewhere.

Some final thoughts as the year comes to a close.

We get presented almost daily with the stats of how many cases, how many are in hospital and how many have died. Stats are not stories. We need more stories, personal accounts or testimonies if you will, to put compelling human face to the impact this pandemic has had.

I think the same is true for the so many unnecessary road deaths, stabbings and shootings. Unless the victim is part of your circle of family and friends and neighbours, sad to say, it seems they are viewed as just another statistic. Maybe it is time Bermuda reverted to public inquests into tragic deaths, so the message can hit home in human terms.

Finally, I close with a comment attributed to Confucius. We obtain wisdom in three ways. The first is by reflection, which is the noblest; the second is, by imitation, which is the easiest; and the third is by our experiences, which can be most bitter.

My wish for Christmas is that we use the holiday season as a time to reflect on our experiences. In the meantime, as the old bromide goes: hope for the best, but continue to prepare for the worst.

Stay safe and Merry Christmas.

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Published December 21, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated December 20, 2021 at 8:16 pm)

Omicron: we know now what we must do

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