We are in the twilight zone of 2020. In a couple of weeks, the world will ring in 2021 with the hope that the devastating effects of the new coronavirus would be washed away. There’s reason enough to be optimistic as vaccines have been deployed for emergency use in several countries after they were found to be effective in preventing COVID-19. All of us could be inoculated against the coronavirus in the new year, although there are worries over large scale production and distribution of vaccines.
The development of viable vaccines is indeed a bioengineering feat. For, they were designed in record time, and some with unproven approaches. The quantum leap in biomedicine augurs well in the search for protection against other deadly diseases.
Vaccines have allowed us to breathe easier. COVID-19 has been a Damocles Sword over our heads. The threat of virus impacted every sphere of our lives: work, shopping, social life, fitness, sport, leisure, entertainment and so on. The arrival of vaccines has engendered hope that our lives will soon return normal.
In the UAE, we are already close to normality, albeit with face masks, frequent handwashing and maintaining social distance. It has allowed us to return to offices and shopping malls. Even sport, fitness and leisure activities have resumed with restrictions. The safety measures have helped reduce the impact of the global pandemic on our society. The daily reports of cases in the UAE pale in comparison to the rest of the world. But we can’t lower the guard.
Vaccines give us hope, but that’s no reason to ditch the safety protocols, especially at a time when we are heading into a season of festivities. Christmas is around the corner, and the New Year’s Eve a little further away. There will be celebrations. There has to be celebration. It keeps the human spirit alive. But remember, the coronavirus has not been eliminated. It’s still a threat. So social gatherings are best avoided. Limit the celebrations to members of the family. Every guest in the house is a potential virus carrier. So diligence is the key to keep out SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen that spreads COVID-19.
Follow government advisories on gatherings and celebrations. Continue to practise the safety protocols strictly. That will prevent us from spending the new year in bed with a high-grade fever or in a hospital battling a cytokine storm. Our health is in our hands. Our neighbours’ too. Let’s act responsibly.