Short stories, Travel and Health Information
Can we predict the new ‘Normality’?
The two countries that I have been most interested in during this Covid pandemic -Sri Lanka and Australia – have both been lagging behind with the task of vaccinating their populations.Finally they have got their acts together – and thanks to military medical personnel,vaccine hubs , hard working GP clinics, pop up clinics and the co-operation of the general public, these two countries which have similar populations (about 26 million people) are now taking serious steps to ensure that an appreciable proportion of their populations will be ‘double dosed’ against COVID as we approach 2022.
The current figures at the beginning of October 2021 are
a. Sri Lanka: 53% of the population fully vaccinated
b. Australia: 43% of the population fully vaccinated
Younger people affected by Delta variant
About a third of all those affected with the Delta variant of the Covid virus are people under 18 years. While the majority of these younger people who are INFECTED with Covid are not as badly AFFECTED by the virus as older folk are – in other words, morbidity and mortality are not as high in young people compared to old – the fact remains that young ones remain effective spreaders of the virus. Ensuring that children and adolescents are vaccinated is thus of paramount importance.
We have seen for ourselves the horrors wreaked by the Delta variant of this virus in many countries – a good example being India. This Delta variant (there are now at least nine known variants) is far more virulent than the Wuhan strain or any of the other four common strains.
As the mission to vaccinate the world’s population proceeds apace, we all expect our lives to return once more to what we used to consider ‘Normal’. So what might be required of us in this post Covid world?
What can we predict?
My personal predictions envisage the following:
Firstly, we will need to get regular booster doses (just as we need to do for common infectious diseases like Typhoid and Tetanus) of the latest vaccine that efficaciously deals with the virus and its new mutant strains. How often this will need to be done remains to be seen. Whether we will require six monthly boosters like used to be required for Cholera or one vaccination every ten years as is done for Tetanus is not yet know – but I believe that Covid booster vaccinations will become a fact of life.
Secondly, we will require Vaccination passports (like the little yellow booklets we used to have stapled to our national passports in the past) – not only for international travel but also for attendance at major events at sports stadia and hospitality venues. Evidence of effective vaccination (as is currently required by health workers like doctors and nurses who commence work in hospitals – for example against Hepatitis B) will most likely be needed for many types of employment. The criterion will simply be ‘No Jab No Job’.
Thirdly, rapid onsite testing may become normal for entry to sports venues, with spectators having to test negative before being allowed to enter a venue to watch, for example, an international cricket match.
Fourthly, masks, hand sanitisers and social distancing, wherever possible, will be here to stay at least in the medium term.
Fifthly, despite our best efforts, we will have to tolerate a death rate commensurate with the nature of this disease and the co-morbidities (such as poorly controlled diabetes, pre-existing lung disease, kidney failure and heart failure) that will make such people who catch the Covid infection vulnerable to serious and life-threatening illness.
Not just in Sri Lanka and Australia but throughout the world, Covid has devastated our lives and our livelihoods. The world needs unity of purpose and not narrow minded nationalistic attitudes to deal with and overcome this calamity. There is no room for selfishness and cheap political posturing – nor should we prioritise the economy over the health of our people.
I can only hope that all of us – political leaders as well as citizens – will have learnt our lesson.