For the past 20 months, public health officials, people and the governments of nations around the world have grappled with the greatest peacetime challenge of modern times, and it is only now that most are beginning to countenance an end to the coronavirus pandemic.
Our world has changed forever, and the things we accepted as being normal seem like a distant memory. But there is also an undeniable pain, one felt every waking hour by the families and friends of the five million people who have succumbed to Covid-19 and its variants since the beginning of 2020.
Heartache to millions
Imagine, if you will, the entire population of a nation like New Zealand simply wiped from the map. Gone. That is what the coronavirus has done, bringing heartache to millions who grieve for the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters lost to the virus.
Right now, five people every minute are dying from Covid-19 worldwide, with the death toll increasing by 8,000 every week. It took a year for the death toll to hit 2.5 million, just 230 days for that number to double.
Here in the UAE, we are fortunate to have leaders who focused on containing the spread of the virus in the initial stages as vaccines were developed and then rolled out to everyone quickly and efficiently. It is why, for example, we are able to welcome the world to Expo.
Across developed nations, the roll-out of vaccines has resulted in the slowing of death rates generally, but the advent of variants — Delta in particular — has resulted in higher death rates, especially in the unvaccinated. And there lies the rub in this figure of 5 million dead.
As things stand right now, more than half of the people on this planet are yet to receive one dose of any of the vaccines that have been approved by medical regulators. That is vaccine inequality, an astonishing failure underscored by the richer nations failing to ensure that vaccines are given to all.
The only way that we all can move forward from this pandemic is if everyone is protected by vaccines. For those living in poorer nations where jabs are non-existent, vaccines must be administered — and those nations who have pledged to provide them must be true to their word. It is a matter of life and death.
Yes, there is a reality too that cannot be ignored. It is the unvaccinated now who are mostly dying — which should shatter any idiotic, misguided or misinformed notions touted by anti-vaxxers.