Fri | Sep 17, 2021

Garth Rattray | We can beat COVID-19 if …

Published:Monday | September 13, 2021 | 12:07 AM
If you want to avoid serious complications from COVID-19, and if you care about your country and want to free up our healthcare system to deal with other ongoing serious health problems, please get vaccinated.
If you want to avoid serious complications from COVID-19, and if you care about your country and want to free up our healthcare system to deal with other ongoing serious health problems, please get vaccinated.

This pandemic is caused by a respiratory virus that gets around from person to person, primarily by riding in or on the droplets that we exhale whenever we breathe out, speak, sing, laugh, shout, cough or sneeze. We know that it cannot move by itself, we are the ones who spread it. It uses our bodies as hosts to reproduce and get around.

The current vaccines are not guaranteed to prevent transmission to, or from us; but they are excellent at protecting us from becoming very ill and/or dying if we become infected. As vaccines go, these are very safe…very, very few people might experience adverse reactions. Sadly, many megalomaniac reprobates have capitalised on the very unlikely possibility of significant vaccine side effects and taken to social media to vilify them. Consequently, some people became afraid of them, and others became staunch anti-vaxxers. This has resulted in unnecessary individual suffering and deaths, and caused a severe strain on our entire country (including being blacklisted as a tourist destination).

GET VACCINATED

I am unable to fathom why, at this horrible time, some people do not trust the vaccines but choose, instead, to trust that COVID-19 will either overlook them or be kind to them. So, if you want to avoid serious complications from COVID-19, and if you care about your country and want to free up our healthcare system to deal with other ongoing serious health problems, please get vaccinated.

At this time, the solution to beating COVID-19 is to keep the virus confined to individuals so that it will have no way of spreading itself or its variants to others – that way, it will eventually die out. When the world first learned about the COVID-19 plague, if every country had closed borders, shut down for two to three weeks, provided care packages and have essential workers domiciled outside their homes, the pandemic would have been totally eliminated. But countries believed that they could control the rates of infections, and keep the proverbial ‘curve’ as flat as possible. Although no one knew how long and to what extent changes to our lives would occur, a decision was made to sacrifice our health and lives for a semblance of ‘normality’. It’s become obvious that that’s not working out too well.

So here we are, wave after wave after wave of COVID-19-related illnesses, the overburdening of our healthcare system, and deaths. We attempt amelioration by applying the emergency brakes; intermittent scheduled lockdowns. But lockdowns alone are not the solution. Our absolute numbers, infectivity, percentage positivity rates, hospitalisations and deaths have proven tenacious. We are overrun by the dangerous Delta variant, undermined by very poor political decisions, and sideswiped by a populace unaccustomed to self-control, discipline, and adherence to regulations.

MUTATE FREELY

Because of human behaviour, this virus is allowed every possible opportunity to mutate freely and frequently, and adapt to our countermeasures. We can only beat COVID-19 if we stringently enforce proper masking, hand sanitising and distancing. These non-pharmaceutical strategies, especially when combined with vaccination, will stop this plague. Wear a good mask, covering your mouth and nose completely at all times when in public. Otherwise, you may become infected, or you may be already infected, without knowing it, and end up causing severe sickness and death in others. Keep distanced from others and sanitise your hands as often as possible.

The Government has resisted the formation of a cadre of (voluntary) COVID-19 marshals. They would be easily identifiable and tasked with encouraging citizens to adhere to the protocols. If they perceive obvious danger of possible exposure to others, they would be able to call the relevant authorities for backup. Until this is done, and with so many refusing vaccinations, we will be in big trouble for a long time to come.

Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and garthrattray@gmail.com.