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COVID19: Naughty or nice, no vaccines this Christmas

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As the death toll steadily rises in the run-up to Christmas the chances that COVID restrictions will be eased over the festive season are rapidly diminishing.

Cyprus has been crushed under a second wave of the virus as cases reach new record highs with alarming frequency.

Local lockdowns seemed to have helped Limassol and Paphos blunt the spike in coronavirus, but it has spread to other towns.

Towns that were outside the lockdown zones are now seeing cases increase.

Gone are the summer days of zero cases, Cyprus has notched up three-digits continuously for six weeks or more.

Almost half the deaths attributed to coronavirus happened in November – the worst month for cases since the outbreak.

We have entered the final month of the year with a new record of nearly 350 cases, there is a possibility this could be surpassed.

As COVID-19 cases surge, it sends shockwaves through a health system already under strain with the pressure of hospital admissions growing daily.

Health workers are under an onslaught of COVID sickness that was unimaginable in the first wave.

The system is under severe stress with beds running out and ability to cater to non-COVID needs narrowing fast.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why we are suffering more now than before.

Are we paying for an extreme lockdown in March that could not be repeated for the next wave?

Did the public let their guard down, pretending it was happening somewhere else but not on their doorstep?

There is undoubtedly Corona fatigue.

The public is tired of the complex rules of engagement on how to behave and socialise.

Freedom is never so precious than when you have lost it.

Coronavirus is raging through our community, yet some Cypriots refuse to accept it, believing they can go about their business as if it’s Christmas as usual.

Although under pressure to loosen restrictions during the festive holidays, there is no sign that the situation will improve over the next three weeks.

Unless a new wonder drug is discovered to control people’s behaviour, then lockdown light will feel like the grinch that stole Christmas.

If crowded shops and churches are anything to go by, then the authorities are fighting a losing battle.

I am still not convinced by the government’s reasoning to allow people to attend church services.

Only 10 people can attend a wedding, funeral or christening but the limit is 75 for church services.

The church hierarchy is not to be trusted with convincing their flock to observe social distancing, especially when queueing up for holy communion.

As with most COVID rules who is checking them, the police can only do so little.

If people believed they could be caught for not self-isolating, wearing a mask, limiting household gatherings to 10, social distancing in bars, the landscape might look different.

Chess challenge

The hands, face, space message is not getting through.

Rules, interventions, and guidelines are more complex than a grandmaster chess challenge.

We are all responsible for our actions to protect our loved ones, but nobody is buying “we are all in this together”. We are not.

There is a belief the Big Pharma cavalry will save the day carrying the vaccine on horseback.

It will take months or years before we can feel safe by achieving herd immunity from COVID-19.

It could turn out to be a seasonal thing, where a jab is needed each winter such as the flu.

Like your Christmas shopping list, there are too many known unknowns.

The vaccines will be arriving in dribs and drabs, demands of such a large-scale vaccination plan are ripe for a Cyprus-style fiasco.

Cyprus is wishing for Santa to deliver the vaccine this Christmas Eve.

But be sure there will not be enough room in his sledge to drop two doses down everyone’s chimney.

Scientific miracles will not be able to save this Christmas, but it could rescue future celebrations if we are stoic in our determination to beat coronavirus.

Cypriots must respect the virus this festive season.

It has no qualms about ripping our holiday plans to shreds then throwing in a stun grenade for good measure.

We have yet to enter the flu season when very wintry weather pushes everyone indoors coughing on each other, making a third wave very possible.

You might be wishing for a vaccine in your stocking this Christmas, naughty or nice it won’t be coming, keep your contacts under the pillow.