Will we eliminate the coronavirus in 2021? That was the question on everyone’s lips last year. Now that we have been living with the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year, can we say with confidence that we can beat the virus this year? No, we cannot. Because several major variants have sprouted in some parts of the world making the task of quelling the virus all the more difficult.
Yet, the situation is different now. We have vaccines, each employing a different technique to prime our immune system to fight the coronavirus. That’s a huge advantage. But some of that advantage has been lost with the arrival of the mutant strains. All the authorised vaccines will work to reduce the severity of the infections by some of the variants. The strain in the United Kingdom is more contagious; now they say it’s more dangerous too.
The South African strain is the toughest. None of the approved vaccines have been trialled against it. The Janssen vaccine and the Novavax vaccine have been found to be effective against the South African strain but at reduced efficacy rates. That means the severity of the infection will be less, preventing the need for hospitalisations. Both the vaccines are awaiting approval.
Vaccines are not a licence to ditch the safety measures. It’s merely one of the tools to keep the virus at bay. So keep your mask on, wash hands frequently and keep a distance from others. That will save you and others
The new strains could well account for the continued infections and deaths worldwide. The coronavirus had infected more than 107 million people globally and killed at least 2.3 million. The grim statistics tell us that the pandemic is far from over. And we have to continue the strict safety protocols we have been following.
In March, countries around the world employed lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus and ramp up health care facilities. The direct fallout was an economic slowdown. That too at a time when the world economy was under strain. Businesses lost revenues and job losses followed. That cannot be allowed to happen.
We have the power to prevent it from happening. We can slow the spread of the virus. For that, we should avoid big gatherings, stop social visits, and take all necessary precautions when visiting shopping malls or making a grocery run. Cut all unnecessary trips, and when you have to go out, follow the safety protocols.
Vaccines are not a licence to ditch the safety measures. It’s merely one of the tools to keep the virus at bay. So keep your mask on, wash hands frequently and keep a distance from others. That will save you and others.