COVID19: Coronavirus thrives on ignorance

2 mins read

If you need a perfect example of what happens when you ignore the pandemic, believing it to be fake news or something that happens in a faraway country, then look no further than Cyprus.

Those who thought COVID would simply disappear – like SARS – were wrong.

The virus did not get bored of invading our bodies, we must now learn to live with it.

Just think of it as the gimp that needs to be locked under the stairs, never to be let out.

Living with coronavirus does not mean pretending it can’t reach out and touch you.

It is only waiting for the right opportunity.

If democracy dies in darkness, then COVID-19 thrives on ignorance, denial, and indifference.

Cyprus football has done a fantastic job of embarrassing itself to the outside world with its cavalier approach to the virus and a lack of respect for health protocols.

As the Health Minister rightly pointed out, if one player can infect the whole squad, instead of two or three players, then the rules were broken into tiny pieces and sold off for scrap.

It is hard to see the new football season surviving if clubs do not introduce regular testing for players, create secure bubbles while taking social distancing and hygiene seriously.

This is about public health and player safety, something many clubs, and those who run the game, have disregarded.

Even though Cypriot football had its shorts royally pulled down, the message is not getting through to wider society.

People may be accustomed to wearing face masks in shops, but there is no respect for social distancing or hygiene routines.

Even those who develop symptoms are not seeing their GP immediately but going about their business until they feel worse.

In a warning, the Health Ministry reminded people to get immediately tested if they develop symptoms such as a fever, continuous cough, fatigue, loss of smell or taste.

Access to tests is a lot easier than many other countries with no need to travel hundreds of kilometres to get one or wait weeks for a slot.

Coronavirus is a highly infectious disease that can kill or debilitate.

It is with us in the community whether you believe the science or not.

Casual attitude

Special measures minimising social gatherings were imposed on Larnaca last week as five clusters formed claiming 65 COVID cases.

Meanwhile, the referral hospital currently has more patients than it has done for a good while.

If Cypriots continue to adopt a casual attitude to the pandemic, we could be facing another national lockdown with jobs, education and our mental health all put at risk.

There is also the double whammy of the flu season coming, mingling another type of coronavirus where the symptoms are similar, putting the health system further under strain.

Many parents have sent their children off to study abroad in Greece, the UK where the COVID situation is thought to be much worse than Cyprus.

But data released by the Health Ministry shows that the transmission rate in Cyprus has bounced beyond the rate of one, a figure that suggests the virus is out of control.

Cyprus now has an R number – reproduction rate of the virus – similar to that of the UK which has seen a record spike in daily cases.

It emerged that the UK estimate for the R number nationally is between 1.2 and 1.5, it is the same range for Cyprus after the football club clusters.

The government was quick to get a handle on the first wave in March when the outbreak started but experts believe the second coming could be worse as the virus has settled in for the long run.

Without taking precautions, COVID will spread like wildfire as the winter months keeps us indoors breathing on each other with minimal ventilation.

People want to carry on as before, but these are not normal times, COVID will probably be a seasonal thing arriving in various degrees of severity.

Even if a vaccine does save the day, it will be another six months or more before it can be weaponised to defeat the pandemic.

For now, the economy is having to buckle up for a bumpy ride, surviving the obstacle course is all that matters.